Early Literacy Expansion in Colorado Public Libraries

Because of the significant work of the public libraries involved in Growing Readers Together (GRT) and the State Library staff leading GRT (Joyce Johnson, in particular), libraries are included in the 2019 Colorado Preschool Development Grant.

What’s this mean? Three Early Literacy Specialists became State Library staff as of May 15th. We like to think of this new grant as an opportunity for a public library to Interlibrary Loan an Early Literacy Librarian, or at least “check them out” in digital format or other events in Colorado.

Kate Brunner (southern region),  Melody Garcia (metro Denver & northeastern region) and Gail Yerbic (western region) are gearing up to offer online and regional events to Colorado library staff and informal caregivers.

You may already know Kate, Melody and/or Gail, as each of them brings years of experience in Colorado public libraries to their roles, including family and community engagement, active involvement in CLEL, and development of early literacy offerings in library settings.  Since joining the team, Kate, Melody and Gail have immersed themselves in learning more about library services to informal child care providers and particularly with the local Growing Readers Together libraries that are national leaders in this emerging area of library services. They are ready to launch a fantastic array of opportunities!

Here’s when/where you can find Gail, Kate and Melody during the next several months:

  • Beginning in August: Join a series of online micro-learning (20 min.) opportunities on topics related to early literacy library services and informal child care providers.  Look for the series announcement soon.
  • September: “Check Out” Kate, Melody, or Gail for a one-to-one conversation on early literacy. They will be at the State Library booth at the Colorado Association of Libraries Conference.
  • Late September – Early October: Attend a series of online webinars on outreach and informal care.
  • October: Meet them and attend their session at the CLEL Conference.
  • Late October – November: Meet them at their section of the regional Youth Services workshops.
  • November 2019 – January 2020: Members of the team would love to come and visit your library!   Kate, Melody and Gail are developing two different playful and highly interactive programs that support  informal child care providers in their work with young children.   Programs focus on skills that support school readiness, such as early literacy and STEM programming for young children, and are completely free.  In fact, the grant funding allows Growing Readers Together to include materials for caregivers to take home, as well as materials for your library to keep and use in future programs.   This is a great opportunity for a library that’s looking to get new ideas about early literacy programming and/or that’s located in a community where child care resources are scarce.   Libraries of all sizes and in all parts of the state are welcome to contact Kate, Melody and Gail to discuss scheduling a  program during the period.

Stay tuned for specific announcements over the coming weeks!