At the end of this month MHLS will say goodbye to Bobbi Clapp, our very own Literacy Ambassador, as she will retire at the end of 2010. Bobbi has been a strong advocate for libraries in the region and a true partner to member libraries in spreading the word throughout our communities that public libraries play an important role in early literacy, media literacy and information literacy.
Bobbi came to MHLS from teaching at Dutchess Community College where she was a reading specialist. Bobbi has a Masters degree in teaching and reading and began her career teaching 1st and 2nd grade. "I love educating children," said Bobbi, "I love interacting with kids and having something to offer them." Bobbi joined the Mid-Hudson Library System in 1998, working on the Babies & Books grant project for two years and then taking on the Growing a Reader project in 2000 along with Health Information Project.
"This job was made for me!" said Bobbi about the Babies & Books project. Bobbi used the grant funds to put together and distribute over 9,000 early literacy packets designed to help new mothers connect their children with literacy skills at the earliest possible time in their lives. Bobbi marshaled help from the Junior League and Honor Society students from throughout the area to put together the 9,000 packets but Bobbi herself took them to 7 area hospitals and got them in the hands of new mothers. Bobbi also helped libraries learn how to do programs for babies and their parents. During the life of the project, 1998 - 2000, Bobbi conducted programs attended by more than 6,500 parents and children to model for area libraries how to provide this critical early literacy service.
Over the past 10 years at head of the Health Information Project (HIP) Bobbi has helped libraries embrace the other end of the Youth Services audience spectrum - teens. "I feel good that libraries are embracing teens and that HIP helped some libraries do this for the first time," said Bobbi about HIP. Bobbi has worked with 19 member libraries that have served as HIP Centers over the years, "These libraries have helped to facilitate a one-of-a-kind prevention-based program in New York libraries," said Bobbi, "Creating a nonjudgmental environment for teens to help other teens deal with issues important to them has been the key to our success." The project has added over 5,300 teen-approved items to the collective collection, and, because it is so critical to keep health information up-to-date, the project regularly provided the tools needed to weed the titles over the years. Area educators have caught on in a big way to HIP materials in local libraries, particularly as school budgets have been reduced. Between 2007 and 2010 circulation of HIP materials rose by 45%.
On behalf of member libraries Bobbi has attended various council and coalition meetings throughout the Hudson Valley, connecting media specialists, social workers, school superintendents, youth bureaus, prevention specialists and mental health organizations with the value found in local libraries. "Libraries need to step up and attend these same meetings," said Bobbi, "this is how libraries can create collaborative partnerships and access additional funding opportunities."
HIP is a long standing MHLS program that won the 2008 Joseph F. Shubert Library Excellence Award and has been featured in School Library Journal and VOYA. MHLS is currently in discussions with CAPE, the Council on Addiction and Prevention in Education, to find ways to continue aspects of the Project for member libraries.
Bobbi's parting advice for libraries? "You have to keep doing this stuff [early literacy training for parents and community connections], don't make assumptions that doing it once gets the job done, keep at it."
Learn more about the MHLS projects Bobbi has worked on:
Babies & Books: http://midhudson.org/babies/
Growing a Reader: http://midhudson.org/reader/
Health Information Project: http://hip.midhudson.org/
MHLS will be closed on Friday, December 24th. There will be deliveries.
The Saugerties Public Library will be closed from January 1st - February 1st while they move into their new library space! Their due dates will reflect that. Any items that you choose to send to Saugerties will be due on February 1st, if checked out before they close. It is completely up to you to choose to fill the hold or not. According to Saugerties Director, Jessica Gonzalez, this is perfectly acceptable. You should also note that, as of last week, their entire collection is not holdable as they make preparations to move their collection. Once fully closed, the items may reflect a storage status.
Marketing, Advocacy & Funding
A Selection of Thanksgiving Challenge Results:
Desmond-Fish Library in Garrison:
- "I am grateful for the always friendly and helpful librarians."
- "I love, love, love this library - it's the library version of "Cheers," the place where everybody knows your name. The librarians are so welcoming, friendly and helpful with their recommendations of books, movies, and CDs One of my favorite places in Garrison, for sure!"
- " Most importantly, the staff is very helpful, discreet, cooperative, interested in books, and make every visit a pleasant experience. A place to be thankful for."
Clinton Community Library:
- "We are huge fans. Convenient hours, great selection, access to the Mid-Hudson Library System, terrific story hour, and the friendliest faces"
- "Thankful for such a friendly and fun library!!"
- "We are thankful for story hour and a fun place to be on Tuesday mornings."
Saugerties Public Library:
- "I am a bargain shopper so I know there is no better deal out there. Thank you Saugerties Public Library."
"Early Literacy Classes" @ the Library? Story hour is a time-honored, library tradition available for caregivers to help children reach their educational and intellectual potential in a fun and enjoyable way. Maybe you don't need to change the name from "story time" to "early literacy classes" but do your best to make sure the value of story time is accurately reflected in the promotional process to help parents recognize the benefits of what the library has to offer. Did you know :
- Neurobiological studies show that what is learned in the first 5 years of a child's life defines childhood development and when nourished properly can influence positive intellectual growth.
- The 6 pre-reading skills necessary for early childhood development and reading readiness: (Note: These skills are inherently part of a library story time program)
o Phonological Awareness: Sound & listening to letters and words
o Narrative Skills: Being able to tell a story
o Letter Knowledge: The recognition of the alphabet
o Print Awareness: Following the words on the page/moving from left to right
o Vocabulary: The meaning of words
o Print Motivation: The child's interest in books and reading
- Story time at the library is often a child's first introduction to a structured "school-like" setting, enabling socialization skills and familiarity with the boundaries of a learning environment thereby fostering increases in school preparedness.
-Creating an environment for a child where reading is a common practice and part of a routine started at a precognizant age, will only help to build a foundation for that child where reading is fun and not perceived as a chore.
Christina Ryan-Linder, MHLS Youth Services & Community Connections Coordinator has shared this example, from the Chattahoochee Public Library in Ohio, of how to talk about what you're already doing in a way that also sells the early literacy components of your programs. These examples show how the library will provide early literacy tools for the child and parent but also remind the audience that story time is fun.
Tiny Tales (Ages 0 - 24 months)
Tiny Tales is a fun program that introduces babies and toddlers to books and language activities. Parents are encouraged to take on the role as their child's first teacher. Activities may involve stories, books, rhymes, music, movement, finger plays, puppets and educational toys.
Time for Tots (Ages 18 mo - 3 years)
Time for Tots is a fun, high-energy reading program that aids in children's speech development and motor coordination, while helping them to gain valuable pre-reading skills. Activities may involve stories, books, language, rhymes, music, movement, activities, puppets and educational toys.
Preschool Adventures (Ages 4 - 5 years)
Preschool Adventures encourages visits to the library for socialization and interaction with peers. Children will listen to read alouds, songs, rhymes, and fingerplays. Flannel board stories and puppets may allow for audience participation to reinforce that reading is fun!
Many libraries already provide these tools each time a story hour is conducted. Your library may not need to tweak much more than the image you portray to the community. Use your promotion of story time to enhance perceived value of the program while still conveying that the program is a fun time for kids. Highlighting these values will help make the case that much easier when it comes time for local library budgets votes and advocating for state funding.
Check out the Growing Readers @MHLS Libraries page for help with enhancing story time at your library! http://midhudson.org/reader
Member Libraries are welcome to submit items of interest and job openings to the MHLS Bulletin: firstname.lastname@example.org. The MHLS Bulletin is available on line at http://midhudson.org/bulletins/main.htm.