Public Libraries can be important facilitators in the process of nurturing future readers. The Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children view public libraries as performing a vital role in their communities in providing early literacy information to parents, caregivers, early childhood teachers, childrens services agency staff, and political decision makers. This view has been reinforced through the work of the Public Library Association's Early Literacy Project; the resulting PLA/ALSC Early Literacy Initiative 2003 Evaluation demonstrates the impact of early literacy library programs with research findings.
libraries implement two of these three programs, based upon their perceptions
of their current patrons' and their communities' needs. Storytime programs
run as ten-week sessions, with children and parent/caregivers in each
session. Parents/caregivers also attend a separate workshop session and
are required to complete a brief intake form at the beginning of the program,
as well as an evaluation form at the end.
The second grant, awarded by the Success by 6 Committee (a subgroup of the Dutchess County Children's Services Council), supported implementation of the program in Clinton, Dover, Millbrook, Northeast - Millerton, Pine Plains and Stanford libraries.
The current round of funding for 2004-2005 comes from Dutchess County United Way and will allow for extension of this project into three more libraries: Hyde Park Free Library, Staatsburg Library Society and Tivoli Free Library. Additional in-kind support for the project was also received from The Lisa Libraries of Boiceville, NY, which provided more than 3,000 new children's books to be distributed to program participants, and the IBM Corporation, which contributed eight Little Tikes Computers to Dutchess County libraries involved in the project.
A comprehensive professional training workshop was held in November 2003 for participating libraries' directors and storytime staff. Invitations to attend this session were also sent to day-care, nursery- and pre- school staff from the communities involved. This served the dual purpose of helping to publicize the library programs, and offering to other interested community childcare workers the opportunity to learn about techniques to foster emergent literacy.
addition two related workshops were held in the fall of 2004: StoryPlay--Storyhour
as the Doorway into Literacy and Raising a Reader @ the Library.
All materials adapted for this program were drawn from the Public
Library Association's Pre-School Literacy Initiative Project, a venture
which has been tested in several libraries around the country (but none
in New York), and draws on professionally-developed (but fun!) techniques
for helping young children learn.