1. On March 21st, I attended the Growing Wisconsin Readers Early Literacy Symposium and was, once again, inspired by the fabulous DipeshNavsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD and his great talk about Reach Out and Read.
2. The next day, I represented the library at the Community Fair organized by the Pewaukee Parent-Teacher Organization. We have participated in this great event for several years because it is a wonderful way to reach new residents and parents that have overlooked library services. At the Community Fair, I met Dr. Stephanie Whitt, of the Pewaukee Pediatrics office. I mentioned that I had just been to a great early literacy event, asked her if she knew about Reach Out and Read, and that I thought maybe we could develop some sort of partnership. She was enthusiastic about the possibility.
3. Sydney D., a terrific teen patron, had also stopped by the library that spring to discuss doing a volunteer project with the library for her Silver Award. Until then, we hadn’t been able to come up with a project that fit the requirements for the Silver Award, but the idea of a partnership with the Pediatrics office to promote early literacy had promise.
|Sydney, Teen Volunteer, at Pewaukee Pediatrics|
I then created a partnership plan that outlined the duties of each of the partners: The Pewaukee Public Library, the Pewaukee Pediatrics Group, and volunteer Sydney. Pewaukee Pediatrics physicians would share early literacy information with parents and caregivers during routine visits, using the Reach Out and Read site as a guide. The pediatric office also provides an area to house a selection of books, comfortable chairs, and a child-sized table.
The Library provides Pewaukee Pediatrics with a set of approximately 25 new, or like new, books for families to share in the waiting area. For health reasons, and to keep the selection appealing, the books are replaced regularly. These books are obtained via donations to the Friends of the Pewaukee Public Library or bought with program funds from Scholastic FACE. We place stickers on the books to identify them as provided by the library and offer literacy tips. Growing Wisconsin Readers Early Literacy brochures and library program information are also put on display.
Sydney, our volunteer, is responsible for sorting out books to take, placing stickers on the books, and delivering them to the pediatrics office. She is also in charge of removing the used books and making sure the brochures are filled and up-to-date. Sydney is so enthusiastic about the partnership that she is in the process of contacting other area pediatric offices to extend the program.
I am looking forward to talking with the Pediatric staff early next year to hear if they have heard any feedback about the books and resources. Placing the books in the waiting room seems like a small step but if just a few parents learn more about early literacy and the library, it will create a definite impact.
Jenny Wegener, Head of Youth Services
Pewaukee Public Library, Pewaukee WI
Image of Sydney provided by the author