Thursday, December 15, 2011

More Than Cookies!

Keeping the Read to Me, Charlotte book shelves stocked is no easy task. With eight community book shelves in high traffic areas, we replace books often...but that is our goal.  We want all children to have access to books, especially in their home. Parents should have books on hand and read to their children everyday. One local Girl Scout Troop is helping to keep the shelves full. Troop leader Gina Brundick, led her Junior Troop in collecting 147 books. The scouts collection effort was in conjunction with the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts. They also collected an additional 200 books from scouts attending the Mother/Daughter Christmas Tea on December 3, 2011. We are thankful for the work of these scouts, their parents and all of our community volunteers. Calling all scouts, the challenge has been issued. To host a book drive for Charlotte Mecklenburg Library contact Amy Kukla, Family Literacy Coordinator at 704.416.4399.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Barnes & Noble supports Read to Me, Charlotte Community Bookshelves

Barnes & Noble stores across the country invite customers to give the gift of reading to children in need during its annual Holiday Book Drive, taking place from November 1, 2011 to January 1, 2012. The Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive provides an opportunity for customers to donate books through locally designated non-profit organizations.

Holiday Book Drive recipients throughout the country include schools, libraries, literacy organizations, family social service agencies and homeless centers. This year, the Barnes & Noble at Carolina Place, located at 11055 Carolina Place Parkway Pineville, NC 28134 will be collecting books for Read to Me, Charlotte at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Charlotte Family Housing. The goal at Barnes & Noble at Carolina Place is to collect 7000 books.

“The Holiday Book Drive is one of our most popular community partnerships,” says Sarah DiFrancesco, director of community relations for Barnes & Noble. “Our booksellers and customers get to share the pure joy of giving a book to a child in need. And because each Barnes & Noble store chooses its local non-profit beneficiary, the donations are very personal.”

If you know of an organization that is interested in conducting a book drive, or would like more information on Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's Community Book Shelves contact Amy Kukla, Family Literacy Specialist at 704.416.4399.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What's New In Outreach

The Outreach Department has just begun two new community projects. We are starting a three-year project with Reid Park School. The purpose of the project is to help kindergarten students increase their reading skill and to support the educational success of all students at the school. In addition, the library will also be able to capture and share our impact on educational success, based on the experience we will have at this school. The Library's efforts is part of the Family Involvement Student Success Network Team; a County led effort to support Reid Park School.

The second project is the Job Center on the Go! Once again, thanks to funding from the Crossroads Charlotte Initiative Grant, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library can expand it workforce development activities into the community. As in the Job Help Center, patrons will receive support for job exploration and career transition. They will also have the opportunity to participate in computer workshops and get the individual assistance needed to conduct successful job searches.

Stay tuned! Information and outcomes regarding each program is forthcoming.

Welcome Back

DSC_0180 by CMLibraryInAction
DSC_0180, a photo by CMLibraryInAction on Flickr.
Welcome Back Faye! Faye Brown is back with her library and outreach least for a little while. Faye Brown retired from Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in March 2010 after many years of service. Faye is bringing her expertise and experience to our early literacy and adult programs while outreach staff members are on leave. Faye's efforts are appreciated and needed and we commend her for the fabulous intergenerational program she planned for Veteran's Day.


IMG_2023 by CMLibraryInAction
IMG_2023, a photo by CMLibraryInAction on Flickr.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Amigo's programs offers free tutoring and homework help at four our our library locations. (Independence Regional, Mountain Island, South County Regional and University City Regional.) This program targets students who speak English as a second language. For more information on volunteering or participating in this program call 704.416.0557.

All in a Day's Work in Outreach

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Staff members in the outreach department have been beyond busy providing services to patrons in our community. In a nutshell, we are into our third phase of the the Jump Start reading program. We are excited to report that parents are understanding the importance of reading to their children at an early age and they are reading to their children at home. Library by Mail has 136 regular patrons and three community deposit collections. Six volunteers or "actioneers" as we affectionately call them, deliver books to partons home. Our Read to Me, Charlotte website is live with family literacy activities. Refugee families participate in pre-literacy programs and school age program that provide literacy skill to help students prepare and be successful in school. There are four Amigo's sites in our library locations offering free tutoring to students who speak English as a second language. We are also providing programs to adults in Spanish and English, which focus on literacy and job searching opportunities. These programs take place at senior nutrition sites, adult day cares and jails. Staff also work in the community to provide literacy programs to children with special needs. If you know a population that cannot take advantage of library services and resources, please contact Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's Outreach department at 704.416.0552.

Intergenerational Veteran's Day program

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

In Her Own Words

Intern Carmella Morrison working at the Job Help Center

Our summer outreach intern, Carmella Morrison, reflects on her first month working at the library.

While being in this internship, I have a wonderful opportunity to work with almost all the staff in the Outreach Department. I have also worked in the Job Help Center, and the Spangler Children’s Library in ImaginOn. With each experience, I learned a little something more about how the Outreach program helps the community by providing library resource outside of the Library.

Job Searching at the Job Help Center

One program I was fascinated with was one where the staff goes out to Spanish speaking families’ neighborhoods and tells them about the Library’s resources. They also provide children with early literacy skills. I had the opportunity to go to this program at the Latin American Coalition with staff member Veronica Corral. She had story time with the Spanish speaking families, and engaged their children in early literacy activities. Learning these skills will allow the children to be better prepared when they enter school. I was able to read a book to them as well.

I also love working in the Job Help Center. I help people with whatever question they may have about their resume, job application and job searching inquires.

I really do believe in this internship. My goal is to be involved in projects that support social capital and community building. I am going to enjoy reaching my goal and I am definitely going to have fun doing it. The staff members are really respectable and sweet people. I love what they are doing for the community.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Welcome Carmella Morrison

Carmella Morrison
The Outreach Department welcomes Carmella Morrison.  She is a student at UNC Charlotte. Carmella Morrison is a summer intern who comes to us through Crossroads Charlotte. She will be working on community building and social capital projects. Miss Morrison has been working in the department for two weeks and she has already assisted in our Job Help Center, which is our Crossroads project and  the Career Cruiser; the Library's Crossroads initiative. Carmella has also worked in other community building projects such as the Reid Park summer reading initiatives and she participated in early literacy programs at the Bilingual Preschool. On Thursday, June 30, Carmella had the opportunity to meet a delegation of Russian Librarians. She heard how library services are offered in a different countries and how they serve their patrons and volunteers.

We hope that Carmella has a wonderful experience that will assist her with her education and career. We also want to give Carmella an opportunity to make a positive difference in the community. To learn more about Crossroads Charlotte go to

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library...Again

every child reay to read @ your library

The American Library Association researched based curriculum, Every Child Ready to Read at Your Library® has been updated. The expanded 2nd version; ECRR 2 incorporates simple practices designed to help parents and  caregivers develop early literacy skills in children from newborns to five. The curriculum has changed form six building blocks to five simple practices, which includes talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing and developing  language and pre-reading skills in children.
The new edition also includes fun with science and math. ECRR 2 still stresses the importance of parents being their child’s first teacher and it promotes the library as a resource for developing early literacy skills in children from birth to age five.
The new ECRR 2 will be used in our Spangler, Jump Start Reading at Home Program. The curriculum is scheduled to be used with our third group of Spangler participants beginning June 2011.  Outreach staff Jump Start facilitators participated in a day-long workshop and webinar on the new curriculum and they are prepared for the roll out! Check us out soon, we will have information and pictures on the new curriculum a long with parents and caregivers reaction to the new curriculum.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Dia de Los Ninos; Dia de Los Libros

Illustrator Robert Casilla
On Friday, April 29, students at Sterling Elementary school and Irwin Avenue Elementary school had the opportunity to meet the illustrator Robert Casilla. Robert is an artist and illustrator. He has illustrated many multicultural children's books such as  JALAPENO BAGELS and FIRST DAY IN GRAPES. He has also illustrated a number of biographies, including ones about Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Rosa Parks and Simon Bolivar.

Quinceanera Program

Mr. Casilla visit was part of the library's annual Dia de los Ninos, Dia de los Libros celebration. For the past 15 years, the library has celebrated and honored children, books and programs by offering literacy programs at our branch locations, schools and within our community. Dia emphasizes the importance of advocating literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Storytelling at the Asian Library

This year was the fifteenth anniversary of Dia and we celebrated the anniversary by providing fifteen different activities throughout the month of April.  Highlights from the month  included Quinceanera programs, Cinderella Around the World, which was a collaboration with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools and the Asian Library and of course, the opportunity to meet artist/illustrator Robert Casilla. Dia de los Ninos, Dia de los Libros is one of many ways the library supports literacy, honors and recognizes the diversity in our community and create opportunities for learning.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Honoring Literature and Culture

There are several aspects of Charlotte Mecklenburg that makes it a unique city for families and businesses. Of course I believe our library system is one aspect, but the diversity in our community is another important aspect. Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's Internatinal Advisory Council recently honored the diversity in our community with the Global Family Series. The series was held on March 26 at ImaginOn. It was a continuation of the four-series festival that took place last year honoring literacy, the arts and culture. Approximately 350 came to ImaginOn to celebrate different cultures and honor their heritage. The afternoon was free for all who attended. Artist donated their time and the library staff introduced hundred of people to our collection filled with books that represent the diversity of our community. As a result of this event, we have new library users, patrons have a better understanding of our collection and the library continues to be recongnized as a valuable institution in our community.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reading Across America with Sterling Elementary School

 A nation wide reading initiative would not be the same without participation from our public libraries; and like many libraries around our nation, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library supported Read Across America. Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program sponsored by the National Education Association. It is a call for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, which happens to be the birthday of Dr. Seuss. The outreach department celebrated reading with students at Sterling Elementary School.

We wanted the kindergarten students at Sterling Elementary school to celebrate reading beyond that day. Children should have access to books after the last school bell rings.  Our goal was to make sure each child had enough books to start a home library. The 2001 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study states that students from homes with more than ten children's books had significantly  higher average reading score then students form homes with ten or fewer books. Each kindergarten student at Sterling Elementary school received three books, including a Dr. Seuss classic, to start their home library. Assistant Principal Kim Odom stated that during their last staff meeting, they discussed the students reaction when they received their books and one student was so happy, she cried! When we offered to give the students more books, Assistant Principal Odom replied, "Anytime we can get more books in their hands, we will do whatever is necessary to make it happen."

How and why does the public library give away books? Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has a vision to create opportunities for personal success in reading and learning for everyone. We are committed to building a highly literate and educated community. Working with our local school system and reaching out to young children, especially those identified as at risk, is a great way to reach this goal and make a positive difference in a child's life.

Outreach Coordinators hand out books for home library.

Now, how do we give away books, especially in these tough economic times when libraries are closing and reducing service hours? We depend on volunteers like you and other members of our community. Book give-a-ways, like the one at Sterling Elementary school are made possible by  community book drives. Books that are collected are distributed to children and families in need and they are used for our Community Book Shelf program. Interested in hosting a community book drive? Would you like additional information on our Community Book Shelf program, follow the "community book drives" link and start supporting your community and public library today! 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Jump Start-Reaching Out to Everyone

The Jumps Start Reading program is designed to bring awareness to the importance of early literacy and it is also designed to give low income families tools and resources to be successful in this area. For most of our sites, it is easy to introduce this concept, but when you work with families from different cultures, delivering this concept becomes a little more challenging. The Outreach Staff at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is up for the challenge!

The Outreach staff has an ongoing relationship and commitment to work with the growing refuge population in our community. During the second phase of our Jump Start reading program, we began to work with the refugee population by providing storytelling sessions, parent workshops, books and other resources to introduce early literacy concepts to families. Amy Kukla, a Jump Start Reading coordinator, describes her experience working with the refugee families:
I had one parent consistently come to all three workshops, and I saw growth in her reading with her son. In each workshop, I emphasized that they didn’t need to read English in order to share books with their children and taught how to ask questions and talk about the pictures, dialogic reading. In the first workshop, after the workshop material was covered, I asked Ayoai if she wanted to take time during the workshop to read to her son, who is 8 months old. She giggled, sounding embarrassed. She said that she would read to him at home. At the second workshop, the American volunteer who was at the workshop shared a book with her son, but Ayoai still didn’t interact. At the last workshop, before the workshop even began, Ayoai picked up one of the books I brought, let her son look at it, and named some of the pictures and letters in the book. I was so proud of her!
Jump Start Reading has the capacity to change lives. If Ayoai continues to read to her son, he will get the skills he needs to be successful in school. Ayoai was proud to admit that she is still reading with her son. The Jump Start reading program will connect Ayoai and her children with her local neighborhood library as well as give her fifteen books to begin a home library so that she can continue reading to her children for years to come.

Ayoai and her son

Friday, January 28, 2011

Second Phase of Spangler Grant Begins

In January 2011, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Outreach Department began the second round of the Spangler grant program. From January through June 2011, we've added twelve preschool locations to the program and we are working with staff from three of our library locations. We are looking forward to 100% of our participants understanding and demonstrating the six building blocks of reading, which will open the doors to reading. We are also anticipating our parents and teachers increasing reading activities with the children involved. Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is a relevant part of our community. This program will not only help children be successful when entering school, it will also connect children and families with their neighborhood libray promoting a lifetime of readers. Stay tuned for more stories and pictures and first hand comments from the staff delivering the program.