Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Seeds of Change for Wisconsin Public Libraries

The first week in May, I was lucky enough to spend two days in beautiful, rainy Lake Geneva at the annual WAPL (Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries) Conference. I met new colleagues (can't wait to collaborate and borrow your great ideas), caught up with colleagues I haven't seen in a while, and attended sessions that provided food for thought and inspired me to try new things back in my own shop.

One of those sessions was led by Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Youth and Special Services Consultant for the Public Library Development Team at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Tessa unveiled a new, statewide early literacy initiative called Growing Wisconsin Readers that is "all about public libraries supporting language- and literacy-rich experiences for young children." The goal of this exciting new project is to inform care givers, service providers, and community stakeholders that Wisconsin public libraries are their resource for growing readers.

To that end, DPI will be providing a host of materials to help us spread the word in our communities. There's an eye-catching brochure and poster offering accessible information on ways that parents and other care givers can equip young children with the literacy skills that prepare them for school success. A QR code on the brochure leads to more information on an interactive website. Also on the website, librarians will find a toolkit that includes customized PDFs of the brochure and poster.

Librarians will be able to participate online as well as in-person multi-system workshops. Smaller libraries will have access to mini-grants of $250 to create early learning spaces, and there will be 2014 LSTA funds earmarked for early literacy grants.

All of this adds up to some pretty exciting opportunities for public libraries to plant the seeds of change, promoting early literacy and Growing Wisconsin Readers. I can't wait to get started in this garden!

Sharon Grover
Head of Youth Services
Hedberg Public Library


Jennifer said...

This sounds pretty cool - I have several early learning projects in mind for my children's space, just waiting for time and $$. How do we apply for the minigrants?

Marge Loch-Wouters said...

Jennifer, these will be set-up and administered through DPI. Tessa Michaelson Schmidt will be sending out info directly to librarians and through system liaisons.