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See to Read

Public librarians commonly think that helping children get ready for kindergarten is early literacy skills, learning numbers, being able to follow simple instructions, learning to be part of a group. Oregon libraries also help parents meet a kindergarten registration requirement—vision screening. Why vision screening for preschoolers? See to Read, a partnership between the Oregon Library Association and the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic at Oregon Health and Science University, is guided by the belief that no child should begin learning to read and write with an undetected vision problem. According to the Elks Children’s Eye Clinic, 80% of learning in the first years comes through vision and often children are misdiagnosed with behavioral or developmental issues. See to Read aims to detect vision problems that can only be treated successfully if caught before age 7. How it works Library staff schedules a screening at no cost to the library, thanks to…

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Librarians visiting WIC Centers

Here at the Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL), librarians from our nineteen branches make monthly visits to the county’s seven Women, Infants, Children (WIC) Centers. The goal is to let the families know about all the services and programs the library has to offer.  In addition, BCPL placed Early Literacy Centers in each location which contain library books and educational toys. During the visit, librarians read to children, modeling literacy behaviors and talk to families about the benefits of reading to children, the families are also able take a free book home to keep. The Early Literacy Centers are child friendly, with colorful rugs, child-sized tables and chairs, library books, as well as educational toys promoting Talk, Sing, Read, Write, Play.  Which organization(s) do you partner with to make this program possible? Has this program led to any new partnerships? Our Youth Family Engagement (YFE) Department partnered with our local…

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Meeting Young Adults Where They Are

Ask many librarians what group of patrons is the most difficult to connect with and you might get a variety of answers. Obviously it varies based on location, public transit (or lack thereof), range of services offered etc. In my system a common response is high schoolers. They have packed schedules with little free time to read or visit the library, often their reading is proscribed by coursework, or superseded by after school activities, hanging out with their friends or college applications. Our Teen New Book shelf is jam packed of the latest and greatest titles with very little movement. I am fortunate enough to work in a town, Grandville, Michigan, where the public library is highly valued and a community hub. My colleague Kris Vogelar, created a wonderful partnership many years ago called A+ Partners in Education. This group pairs local schools with our Youth Staff at the beginning…

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Therapy Dogs in the Library: A Pawsitive Experience

Once a month, the Calabasas Library opens it doors to trained therapy dogs. Families and children sign up for their own one-on-one time to quite literally read with dogs. It’s one of the most beloved programs at the library, a partnership built over a decade. Last year, when the library celebrated its 20th anniversary, the therapy dogs were there during the festivities. Of course they were, they are a part of the library community. Why Therapy Dogs for Literacy? The idea of using therapy dogs for literacy is not new. The program the Calabasas Library uses, Pet Partners, was founded in 1977 and provides millions of trained therapy animal visits a year across a variety of settings. It’s their “Read To Me” literacy program, however, that the Calabasas Library utilizes. Read To Me was founded on the idea that children’s literacy can benefit from trained therapy animals. David E. Williams…

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Enhancing the Mind-Body Connection in Your Storytime

Long stretches of sitting can leave grown-ups stiff and little ones antsy.  Since exercise is known to boost children’s cognitive performance as well as stimulate their brain growth (Dewar 2015), why not incorporate some gentle movement into your next story break?  Tai chi, yoga, and your own creative take on physical expression can build the mind-body connection, and successful partnerships between multi-hyphenate authors, elementary educators, a public library, and a local nonprofit offer a roadmap for recreating a movement-filled storytime in your own space. If this is your first time incorporating movement into your classroom or library read-aloud, try starting with a book that will offer you and the children some basic guidance.  When an opportunity arose to bring author Sylvia Liu to a classroom for a tai chi-based book presentation in the spring of 2017, children’s literacy nonprofit An Open Book Foundation (AOB), which brings authors, illustrators, and their…

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Municipal Partnerships: Making the Most of Your City

Looking to start a new partnership to liven up your programming or outreach? You may not have to look much further than city hall. Many cities have departments that make wonderful library partners, and these partnerships allow us to show kids all that the community has to offer. At the Newton Free Library in Newton, Massachusetts, the youth services department had several partnerships with other city offices. Here, we’ll look at our partnerships with Historic Newton and the mayor’s office during our 2017 Build a Better World summer reading program. Historic Newton When I was tasked with planning an “around your neighborhood” storytime for summer reading, I started looking for a partner in the neighborhood to take over the activity portion of storytime. Historic Newton was a perfect fit. Historic Newton is a city organization that preserves Newton’s history through two museums and various other initiatives. They have education and…

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Children’s Librarians are Experts at …School Readiness

The King County Library System has been partnering with its local Child Care Resources to bring Kaleidoscope Play and Learn to the communities we serve. Kaleidoscope Play & Learn is a school readiness program coordinated by Washington State’s Child Care Resources.  Many children ages birth to 5 are not enrolled in formal early learning programs or licensed child care.   The purpose of Kaleidoscope Play & Learn (KP&L) is to work with family, friend and neighbor caregivers, and parents to provide support in preparing their children for success in school and life through quality early childhood experiences.  The program consists of weekly, facilitated groups of 90 minutes or more.  Each session begins with child-directed play and concludes with a coordinated large group activity.  At the library the large group activity is story time, of course!  Children and caregivers participate in open-ended, child-directed play, choosing from a variety of play centers, which…

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Daddy & Me: A Partnership with Brooklyn Public Library and NYC Department of Corrections

On any given day, the New York City Jails have a population of almost ten thousand inmates.* The Brooklyn Public Library, along with the New York Public Library, have dedicated outreach teams that provide library services through a partnership with the NYC Department of Corrections. In addition to offering library lending services inside the facilities, the library has attempted to create ways to connect the people who are detained to their families and communities. This includes the library Televisit program, which allows families to visit select library locations in order to communicate to incarcerated individuals via video chats, and the Daddy & Me Program that takes place in the jail facilities. Recently I joined my colleague Nick Franklin, the coordinator of Jail and Prison Services for the Brooklyn Public Library, on a bus trip to the NYC Jail located on Rikers Island. We were on our way to Family Day,…