By Melissa Heintz
Public Affairs Specialist, IMLS
Forty miles east of Los Angeles you will find the city of Rancho Cucamonga. It is one of California’s fastest growing communities, and the Rancho Cucamonga Public Library is adapting to serve its diverse community’s needs. Library Director Robert Karatsu says that by keeping their ears open to the types of activities their community wants, the library has adapted a variety of programs to serve kids, teens, adults, and seniors. Programs include afterschool tutoring, adult literacy, cultural arts nights, computer classes, and programs targeted for seniors. With many different types of programs, there is something for everyone.
One of their standout programs is the Play and Learn Islands, interactive exhibits the size of a table allows children to play and learn at the same time. Children can develop hand-eye coordination and practice small motor skills, all while getting an educational experience. This has proven to be so successful that they are now lending the exhibits to other libraries across the country.
For moms like Christine DeVries, who homeschools her triplets and has brought them to the library since they were old enough to sit up, the library is an asset and a resource. Here, she can check out books from suggested reading materials and the kids can participate in activities related to their curriculum. The triplets have learned research skills, gone to cultural activities, and checked out books with eReaders—all at the public library.
The Rancho Cucamonga 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.