By Melissa Heintz
Public Affairs Specialist, IMLS
The Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, Wash. focuses on the needs of its community. Through focus groups and opinion surveys, the library system implements programs that the community deems important. This is how the Pierce County Library System has become a leader in early childhood literacy. Because the first five years are the most important in childhood development, Executive Director Neel Parikh believes that the library has an opportunity to make a difference by helping parents and caregivers understand early literacy.
Jo Cruz owns a home daycare business. When it was time to find the best resources to build her curriculum, she looked no further than the local library. She attended free classes to learn about early education and what childcare providers can do to prepare kids for school. The library also provided her with a toolkit with items to stimulate young minds. It included musical instruments, whiteboards, puppets, and building blocks. With the help of the library, Cruz runs a successful daycare business and is helping shape the minds of the children in her care.
The Pierce County Public Library was one of 10 winners of the 2013 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for libraries and museums that are serving their communities in exceptional ways. Do you know of a museum or library that has made a difference? Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 National Medal. Nomination forms must be mailed and postmarked by October 15, 2013.