Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Catalyst for Collaboration

Promoting Growing Wisconsin Readers
When I first heard about the Growing Wisconsin Readers initiative, I was intrigued and excited to have a statewide initiative with practical tools for librarians and caregivers to use to promote early learning.  What surprised me was how receptive staff from other agencies were to the concept and the materials.  After several years of working on establishing connections with early childhood providers, I found that the Growing Wisconsin Readers really paved the way to greater opportunities to collaborate.  I think this initiative gave my efforts more credibility.

As a result of the Growing Wisconsin Readers initiative, I began brainstorming and working with early childhood consultants from two of the CESAs that serve our region.  As a result of that work, I
Great Minds Think Alike (Pixabay Image)
was invited to attend regular meetings of the Western Region of the Wisconsin Early Childhood CollaboratingPartners.  Members of this group work with Public Health, Birth to Three, UW Extension, Head Start, and several other organizations.  It has been marvelous to develop relationships with the people who wholeheartedly welcome libraries into the conversation.  I have been learning a huge amount about what our colleagues in other fields are doing, and have plenty of food for thought about how libraries can fit into the equation to promote optimal conditions for young children and their families.

Navigating New Media (Pixabay Image)
My new partners and I are planning work together to help early childhood professionals (including librarians) in our region learn to be Media Mentors—helping families and caregivers navigate the murky waters of young children and technology.  I am looking forward to creating more opportunities for librarians and other early childhood professionals to meet, network, and share ideas.  Everyone is doing great work in their own practice, and the potential for when we start sharing resources, ideas, and know-how is sky-high.

Leah Langby, Library Development and Youth Services Coordinator