Ready to Read at New York Libraries and IMLS Grants -- Grant Abstract

Ready to Read at New York Libraries logoThe New York State Library will use a $48,577 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Collaborative Planning Grant to develop a comprehensive statewide early literacy training plan, Ready to Read at New York Libraries. Building on extensive needs assessment and research work conducted in 2013, the State Library will engage partners in developing a plan that makes effective use of onsite training and new technologies to impart greater skills for library staff, enabling them to provide families and caregivers with the knowledge they need to prepare young children for the school years ahead. This one-year grant project will begin April 1, 2014, and end March 31, 2015.

New York is a large, diverse State of 19 million people with 1,100 public libraries and neighborhood branches. Ready to Read at New York Libraries will be designed to meet the diverse needs of large urban libraries such as the bustling Queens Borough Public Library, where 138 languages are spoken by 2.2 million residents, as well as the needs of small rural libraries open twelve hours a week in communities of less than 500 people. The plan will include targeted outreach strategies to assist libraries in reaching high-risk populations such as residents of high-need school districts, minorities, immigrants and the rural poor. The grant will support the development of four key critical elements needed to make statewide early literacy training a success:

  • Collaborative and lasting local, statewide and national partnerships to assure the work is done effectively and strategically. An Advisory Committee will assist in forming lasting statewide and national partnerships. Proposed organizations represented on the Advisory Committee will include: New York’s Family Reading Partnership, Cornell University and Cooperative Extension, Family Place Libraries, the New York Library Association, the New York State Council on Children and Families, the New York State Education Department’s Office of Educational Television and Public Broadcasting, the New York State Education Department’s Office of Early Learning, and public library system youth services consultants.
  • A comprehensive strategic statewide training plan that makes effective use of new technologies and onsite training. Key pieces developed by this collaborative planning grant will result in a comprehensive plan that builds on extensive needs assessment and research work conducted by the State Library in 2013. The Advisory Committee and a training cohort will assist the State Library in setting achievable targets for each year of the plan. The training plan will be ongoing and will provide public library staff with skills and knowledge in community assessment, creation of library early learning environments, effective outreach strategies and the delivery of quality parent/caregiver education for diverse audiences. Parent/caregiver education will focus on reading readiness, but will also include science and math (STEM components).
  • A comprehensive evaluation method that will verify the quality and impact of the plan. An evaluator will create an outcome-based evaluation model and protocols during the planning year. Effective evaluation design will inform the quality and practicality of the plan, and provide solid evidence of a change in the skills and knowledge of library staff and families participating in the training.
  • New York library staff will understand the importance of early learning. As a result of communication during this planning grant year, including multiple virtual and face-to-face meetings of the Advisory Committee, a training cohort and other stakeholders, public library staff will understand the importance of receiving early literacy training and they will be prepared for the full implementation of Ready to Read at New York Libraries.

Ready to Read at New York Libraries will be designed to transform the lives of young New Yorkers through quality library programs that provide parents/caregivers and young children with the skills and knowledge needed for success in the school years ahead. The activities in this collaborative planning project grant will result in a sustainable and comprehensive plan that will provide all public library staff in the State with access to the training and materials they need to make the library a vital community hub for early learning and a key community partner in every village, town, county and city in New York. The results of this project will also be replicated and shared broadly with other libraries across the nation.

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Sharon Phillips is the Project Director for
Ready to Read at New York Libraries. For more information,
contact Sharon at 518-486-4863; Fax: 518-486-5254.
Last Updated: May 22, 2017 -- asm