This post was written by Sharon Morris, Director of Library Development for the Colorado State Library.
Last week, Colorado Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera visited three libraries and three schools to promote early literacy. I was along with her, which was particularly fun for me because it taps into my years as a children’s librarian and outreach specialist for the Denver Public Library.
This Early Literacy Week included:
Westminster Public Library, College Hill Library
- Music and Movement: 18 months through 3 years
- A showcase of the Children’s Library and early literacy initiatives, including Growing Readers Together
Pikes Peak Library District, Monument Library
- Athena’s storytime promoting the vote for One Book Colorado by featuring all the books
- Library Tour with Monument Library Manager Drew Hart (including feeding ducks in the duck pond behind the library)
, Old Town Library
- Celebration of Universal Children’s Day
- Celebration of the retirement of a Colorado early literacy leader, Vicky Hays
- Tour of Library & Notable Literacy Initiatives in the Fort Collins area with Eileen McClusky
At each location, the Lt. Governor read aloud at storytime and gave the children copies of the 2019 One Book Colorado title “Penguinaut.” I distributed the Colorado Day by Day Calendars that encourages daily early literacy experiences with young children. (Thanks to the story time librarians who graciously invited her to join their events.)
The State Library is involved in this tour and One Book Colorado to spread the messages of investing in early literacy and the vital role libraries play in early literacy. Being at these libraries, and the schools in this tour, helped illustrate the profoundly important work they are doing. The Lt. Governor was wowed the expertise and service delivery strategies. In one visit, she brought her 2 ½ year old granddaughter, who enjoyed the magic of the Old Town Library too.
While I know that public libraries offer many amazing early literacy programs, spaces, collections, and services, I walked away with a deeper understanding of and appreciation for what that looks like day to day in public libraries.
- During the tours, one youth librarian casually described an early literacy strategy, a specific family coaching resource, and a helpful tip based on brain research. In every location this was the norm, not the exception.
- Library directors and managers shared their knowledge about youth development that informed their thinking about spaces, collections, and services more broadly.
These moments throughout the week added up to a bundle of evidence that Colorado library staff are thoroughly embedding early literacy into their work and into the communities they serve. Being on this tour gave me a deeper awe for the many knowledgeable and devoted individuals who work with children in our schools and libraries. It also inspires such a feeling of possibility for the future.
As long-time, now retired, Colorado Library Director, Eloise May used to said, “As long as people keep having children, the public library will have a future.” Now the Lt. Governor recognizes that as well.