Adults Celebrate Learning with Stories About Literacy

By Michele Farrell
Senior Library Program Officer

Being able to read and write is something that most of us take for granted. But, for 32 million Americans, this is not the case. Many who lack these skills don’t know where to look for help. Some find out about assistance through word of mouth from friends, others see advertisements that have been placed in their community by libraries and literacy providers. Once they do locate assistance, their lives are changed for the better.

In Oklahoma, the Department of Libraries works with the Literacy Resource Office to help adults obtain these skills. Their collaborative works resulted in a publication called “Celebrating the Journey,“ a compilation of the writings of the adult learners who received instruction in reading and writing. Each learner was invited to submit an original story of up to 300 words, and tutors or program representatives were asked to review the writing for editing. The tutors assist with correcting spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

The latest issue, volume 8, contains 99 stories from 16 library and community-based literacy programs and adult learning centers. There are many stories of hope and inspiration like that of Steve Hohler, whose story, “New Confidence,” gives you a real sense of the challenges you face when you can’t to read.  He received his training through the Miami Public Library Literacy Program. As he says in the story, “I can read the words to the hymns at church. I used be so self-conscious about this, but I don’t have to fake this anymore. You can hear me sing out, not like I used to, mumbling or using other words.”

Sister Maria D. UgbeThe Bartleville Public Library provided training for Sister Maria D. Ugbe, an immigrant who arrived here from Nigeria eight years ago, and who hopes to become a U.S. citizen. She wrote in her story, “My Companion Word: Coraggio,” ’Life is lived by courage. Each one of us sees the world through a unique lens. Unfortunately, that is why not all can survive. We need to be there for one another to have coraggio (courage) and not give up

Authors will be attending their book signing on September 21 at the Fall Literacy Conference held in Norman and hosted by the Oklahoma Literacy Coalition. If you would like to read more from this publication click here to be inspired.

Posted in Education Support, Grants to State Library Administrative Agencies, Lifelong learning/ Intergenerational | Leave a comment

Integrating Libraries and Museums in State-Level Early Learning Strategies

Photo of Susan HildrethBy Susan H. Hildreth
Director, IMLS

More than 400 museum, library and early childhood experts registered to attend a webinar on “Expanding the Reach of Early Learning and Development Systems for Libraries and Museums.” This was another important milestone in our work to encourage greater and more intentional collaboration among these groups. It was part of our partnership work with the BUILD Initiative.

The BUILD Initiative was launched in May 2002 by a consortium of private foundations. Its aim is to stimulate public investments in early learning and help coordinate programs, policies, and services for young children that often operate in insolation and without enough resources to meet critical needs.

Museum and library leaders share the desire of early childhood leaders to create high quality learning opportunities for young children. Many state-level efforts to support young children’s growth and development focus narrowly on formal institutions, such as preschools and public health systems. But children live in families, and their lives are really shaped by family and community. Museums and libraries serve families and are valuable community assets.

For the past few years, the Institute of Museum and Library Services worked intensively with partners at the federal and national level and through grants to local institutions for early education. With the BUILD Initiative, we will examine how to better integrate libraries and museums into state systems.

Our project will start with five pilot states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Washington. In each state, BUILD will help form a team that includes early learning leaders with a deep understanding of state program standards (QRIS), early learning standards (birth to 5), and the ways that early childhood plans, policies and programs operate, as well as representatives from state library agencies, public libraries, and museums. Teams may also include local community leaders with expertise in important early childhood issues such as literacy or obesity.

While some states have included museums and libraries at the heart of their early childhood systems work, most have not. While many museums and libraries have engaged in exemplary early learning activities, most have not aligned with state systems-building efforts. Our collaboration with BUILD over the coming year will create connections between museums and libraries and early childhood systems builders to better support young children.

I hope you will follow this effort and let us know how your library or museum is engaging at the state level to improve the quality of early learning experiences for children and their families.

Posted in Afterschool/Out-of-School, Director's Messages, Early Learning, Education Support, Learning Tools and Interactives (Information/Media literacy) | Leave a comment

Library Services Training in the Pacific Region

By James Lonergan
Senior Program Officer, IMLS

This past May, I hosted grantees from three U.S. Pacific Territories: American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI); and three U.S.-affiliated Freely Associated States: the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) in Honolulu, Hawaii at the 2014 IMLS Library Services Grants to the Pacific Region Training Workshop. These meetings, held every other year for the Pacific island grantees, provide them an opportunity to discuss their projects with IMLS staff and with each other, share best practices, and obtain professional development training. This year, the meeting included a component on making library services accessible.

Pacific workshop participants.

Participants presented on the programs and services they are supporting with IMLS funds. Highlights of the presentations included:

Jane Barnwell from Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) and Dr. Yvonne Chandler from the University of North Texas presented on the Library Education for the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific (LEAP) project, an IMLS-funded joint initiative between PREL and UNT which supported 21 students from the Pacific region in obtaining their MLS degrees. This included Justin Maga, who attended our training, representing the Feleti Barstow Public Library in American Samoa.

Participants visit to the Hawaii Library for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (LBPH).

Participants visit to the Hawaii Library for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (LBPH).

A special focus of the workshop was services to people with disabilities. Our grantees participated in an interactive online tutorial from the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies called “Positive Interactions: Making the Library a Welcoming and Empowering Place for People with Disabilities,” presented by Brenda Hough. Several grantees noted that the tutorial gave them useful ideas for improving the accessibility of their libraries and the programs and services that they offer.

We also visited the Hawaii Library for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (LBPH), where we toured the Library and were given an assistive technology demonstration. The Guam Public Library System serves as a sub-regional LBPH.

Our participants rated the workshop highly on their evaluation forms, and they told us the various presentations and meetings gave them good ideas that they could use back home in their libraries, archives and museums.

Posted in Accessibility, Afterschool/Out-of-School, Collections Care/Preservation, Cultural Heritage/Sustainability, Grants to State Library Administrative Agencies, Learning Tools and Interactives (Information/Media literacy), Lifelong learning/ Intergenerational | Leave a comment