Parent Connection – Early Literacy at Anne Arundel County Public Library

Coming up next on Parent Connection a
conversation with Laurie Hayes and Shelley Davenport from the Anne
Arundel County Public Library – Music and Titles – – Music and Titles – – Music and Titles – – Music and Titles – Welcome to Parent Connection I’m Anne
Weaver from the Office of School and Family
Partnerships and I’m very pleased today to welcome Laurie Hayes
and Shelly Davenport who are from the Anne Arundel County Public Library they have some very exciting news to
share with us today about some changes that are happening. Um
tell us you have some exciting news to share.
Yes, we’re very excited and to share the news that thanks to some
generous funding that we received from the county last year we were able to hire additional staff
and we have expanded our operating hours at 12 of our 15 libraries. All of the libraries now will have a standard
schedule They will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and
Saturday That’s wonderful. It’s so much easier for
families when they know there’s a consistent schedule they can go to
whatever branch they want Exactly. Yeah, so you explained
Monday through Saturday hours how about Sunday I know that’s been cutback in some places what’s
happening with Sundays?
Yes, on Sundays we were able to reinstate the hours at the
Crofton Library and the Severna Park Library. So they now join the North
County, West County, and Annapolis Area Libraries in being open on Sundays from September
through May from 1 to 5 p.m. That’s wonderful. That’s terrific access
for students who have homework or families who you know, need to go on the weekend instead of during the week.
And that’s terrific So in addition to expanded hours I understand you have some new
programming that’s happening Tell us about that.
Yes, and this is the
part that is very exciting to me. Because we’re going to be open home on
the mornings whereas before we had ten branches that were only open on Wednesday mornings, which was very
limiting, will now have the whole entire week of mornings and so we are increasing our early literacy programming
exponentially. Every branch, all of the 15 branches will offer our Babies in Bloom programs and something called Toddler Time and
then also Preschool Storytimes. They’ll be able to offer those every
week year-round as opposed to these very
limited chunks that we were offering before. It also gave us new staff with which we could make sure that we
got the right people meant for the job Great. You mentioned early
literacy programs and I’m not sure that’s a
familiar term to everybody. Is early literacy the same as story
time is it different? Yes and no.
So basically early literacy is everything a child knows before they learn to read. So it’s not about teaching. Sometimes
people think that we’re gonna teach children how to read. Nothing against that idea but that’s not what early literacy about is about. It is about making sure we’re that the
children have all the tools so that when they get to school they are
prepared and ready to read and also, for the library, we’re
also very interested in getting children excited about
reading and to have a very good and
nurturing idea what the library is and what the library can offer them. So you talked about having a time for babies and a time for
toddlers and a time for preschoolers. How with
those three look different? I’m glad you asked that! So the whole
idea of breaking it down and before we had Babies in Bloom and then we’ve always have
preschool storytime, and then we have few branches that started off with toddler time and so when I came in I thought that in
the interest in making sure we were doing the best job for the children that came in
the door, that we should break it down developmentally. So we decided that Babies in Bloom is going
to be for children birth through 18 months. And then the Toddler Time is from 18 months to 36 months which is obviously three years and then preschool storytime is three to
five years I and in terms what they look like? Babies
in Bloom for those, and it’s a very popular program, a lot of people go to those, they might have a book but it’ll be shared. We have collections where everyone gets the same book. It’s really about showing up here and
how you would want to read to the child and you’re not just moving through the pages but that
you’re allowing them to play with the story and, um even
something as simple as children understanding um, which way you hold the book, you know things like that um, print awareness. So Babies in Bloom
would just be that and lots of stories, some songs and rhymes,
nursery rhymes, and and all that good motor development
[finger plays] But very developmentally
appropriate for that age which we are really stressing right now. And then Toddler Time because they’re just starting to move and having done Babies in Bloom, there’s a big difference between those toddlers that are in the room. um, so then you start to use a few more
stories, but they’re very fast um, very simple, the vocabulary’s very simple. And then preschool which is a whole other world unto itself. So we’re breaking it down
developmentally which is very exciting for us. And another piece to that, Anne, is that we have an early literacy consultant and trainer, she’s nationally known, and she’s coming in to help to train the staff. So we have
our own training programs but then we also have
her coming in to really give everyone as much information, the brain research, and all the developmental awareness that they need.
Well that’s so important
for your professionals to have the training
so that they’re offering really high-quality um, programs for for people who come in uh, you mention the benefits for
children, obviously. You know they’re learning about books, they’re learning to
be excited about books, and a whole variety of kinds of things what are some other benefits that
parents and child care providers might get from coming to these programs?
Well, we’re using a model that that’s the national model. And the state a Maryland is very
invested in this. It’s called Every Child Ready to Read and it is a parent education initiative. Um, so the idea here is we we already know that there are things
that a child needs to to learn in terms of early literacy: print
awareness, background knowledge, uh and so what Every Child Ready to Read did
is they broke it down and sort of simplified it. And they said there are five practices that that providers like librarians, but
also parents should be aware of that will
prepare a child. Um, and those five practices are um, Play (gonna have a hard time with this) Read which is extremely important, Talk Sing, which is incorporated into pretty
much every program we have and then and um Write. So those are the five
practices and what um, and this is part of the reason that we
have a consultant coming in because it is very difficult to explain to um, our
librarians who have always served children and read stories and
everything, that we want to add this extra component to it, which is to make parents aware that these skills in activities into sort of slip
that into the stories When the parent comes comes home, and
I know I was talking to someone about this recently, and I said you know so it all comes to
the program and they learn a song and and that’s really wonderful you know, that’s great! So they may or
may not remember it. But just like adults if when they go back from their training it is brought up again. So let’s say the parent brings the child home and they sing the song in the car and then
maybe that one of the nursery rhymes is repeated or one of the finger plays, two little blackbirds or something like that and so then maybe a bedtime you know
they get their bath, well they sing the song again Well then the child has learned so much
more. So if we bring the parents in and we sorta give them some tips um and ideas of things in activities
that they can do with their child so that, “sing”, “write”, and “read” that that
will help to make this a stronger bond well and help the parents
Will I think it’s so important too that you make it really clear to the parents of the child
care providers who are there with their children, this is why we’re
doing this you know, this is what your child is
getting out of this. So you’re you know you’re really giving the
program to the child but you’re kind of talking over the whole thing and
giving the information to the parents which I
think is wonderful. And it’s you know clearly I can see huge
parallels between what you’re doing and what the public schools are doing,
what the child care professionals are doing. You know, in
trying to, you know we are all aligned together trying to um provide services so that she when
children get to school they’re really ready to go When you know everybody can level the
playing field, hopefully I wanted to ask you a question too, Laurie. I
understand that part of what you’re doing in promoting and your new hours is um, a special contest. Tell us about that Well then, you know, we want to make the
connection between the preschoolers and the parents, so we invited parents of children from birth to five to make
a video um, of their children talking about or demonstrating what they love about
the library and we’ve got a lot of great entries
um and were planning to choose a winner by the end of February, uh and you know,
we’ll be using those videos on our website and on Facebook and you know just really to drive home the
importance of bringing your kids to the library That’s wonderful. So exciting to get to
actually get your customers, your clients to to join in with you on on the
advertising and it’s, you said you had a lot of entrants
already. What kind of ages of children do you get submissions
from? I mean, we’ve had, well, I mean, they’re
talking so basically two is probably the youngest that
we’ve gotten, up to five, and we’ve had some brothers and sisters doing it and they’ve just, that they’ve been very
very cute.
And very creative too, I’m sure Yes exactly yep that’s me. Um Tell me a little bit about who can come
to these uh storytimes, these programs. I mean, do you have to have a library card, for
instance, to be able to come? I mean, can grandparents bring children I mean who all you know, who is your constituency here?
Actually, we do have a lot of Grandparents that bring the children and we’re more than happy to have them, it’s
wonderful. um, and no you do not need to have a library card although we always
encourage it and it’s wonderful when first thing you know, when I was in a branch when people come in with their baby and say that they wanna, they want to start with the
library and get them a library card And a lot of times that’s when we see people, that they’ll come back to the library when they have
children because they see that as an important component to their child’s growth. So, um. One
thing I want to make sure that I said to you and um, when I was talking about the Early Literacy
is not only will we be offering programs year-round and on a
consistent basis at the branches, at the libraries, but also we’re going to begin to go out and
reach out into the community because we really invested I mean our mission
here its it is to help to raise the school readiness levels and to help families from Anne Arundel County and so it will not just be in the branches but
also those children that may not, their parents maybe aren’t bringing them
or for whatever reason
Or they have transportation or work hours Right. (cross talk) or to just… to just get to build that excitement so
we’re going to be going out to um to preschools and um to the
local schools cause there’s pre-k programs um and then we’re looking into
different places in different venues um that we might be able to..
Maybe recreation centers or you know that kind of thing
Exactly of thing
It seems like every time I look at
my email there’s another one that would lend itself to that So it’s very much an exciting time for
us to to feel that we’re part of the community and that we’re reaching out
and trying to help people and to build the excitement for um for literacy.
Well it sounds just absolutely exciting.
We have about two minutes left um If I am a parent of a child in the county and and I wanna
get more information I mean you’ve certainly whetted my appetite and I
can’t wait to join to bring my baby, or bring my toddler um,
how when I get more information about these programs at my local branch or at
any branch? The most comprehensive list that we have
all the programs you know that include all the early literacy things um is our library magazine Library
Happenings and that’s available in every library and also online We also have a presence on Facebook and
on Twitter and that’s a great way to find out, you
know, sort of late breaking news um on any sort of service or program
that we offer hmm mmm and I suppose you could always
call your local branch and ask for that and come in
(cross talk)
Exactly you can call or visit we would love for new people to come in and you know
acquaint themselves with all the things we have to offer Terrific! Well thank you both for taking
time today to come and share your new hours, your new programs, you’re
expanding list of offerings, and I know that you’ll be getting a lot of new people
coming in and creating a lot of excitement for the library That’s what we hope
Thanks so much for joining us today on Parent Connection We hope to see you next time. – Music and Credits – – Music and Credits – – Music and Credits – – Music and Credits – Did you know that your local public
library offers free early literacy programs especially designed for your baby, toddler
or preschooler’s growing needs and mind? Programs are offered at all Anne Arundel
County Public Library branches every week year-round we’re committed to
preparing children for school and for life. Visit for details

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