Tuesday, July 3, 2012

She's Back.............And So is Summer Reading in Outreach

Welcome back Carmella Morrison. Carmella is working as a summer contract worker in the Outreach Department with one purpose only...to make sure at-risk students in underserved communities participate in the Library's Summer Reading Program. In a 2011 report by the New York State Library, “The Importance of Summer Reading" Secretary of Education Arne Duncan described summer learning loss as “devastating.” He further stated, "This is what researchers have often referred to as the “summer slide.” It is estimated that school summer breaks will cause the average student to lose up to one month of instruction, with disadvantaged students being disproportionately affected." In, "Summer Reading Programs Boost Student Achievement, Study Says," a School Library Journal Article (November 2010) stated, "Students who take part in their local library’s summer reading program significantly improve their reading skills." Charlotte Mecklenburg Library understands this achievement gap and the need to bring the library services to the community. Carmella visits several summer camps each week. She gives the students a wonderful literacy experience, which gets them excited about reading and books and she makes sure they are enrolled in the summer reading program and prepared to successfully complete the program. Successfully completing the program means children will have access to books and read for at least twenty minutes per day.

This year's summer reading program is on line, and the majority of the student's Carmella is serving do not have access to a computer or the Internet at home or in summer camp. When Carmella asked the students at the YWCA Reid Park location if they recorded their reading time on their reading record, ALL of the students stated they did not have a computer at home. Carmella made sure she recorded  what every student read,  how long they read, and she will manually update each student's reading record. Outreach services creates opportunities and access.

Carmella Morrison in a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is interested in pursuing her Master's Degree in Library Science. For more information on Outreach Services contact 704.416.0558 or visit http://www.cmlibrary.org/Youth/.

So Long Amy and Varanrat

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”

― C. JoyBell C.
Either by chance or circumstances the Outreach Department is changing. Two of our wonderful Outreach Specialist, Amy Kukla and Varanrat Torok have resigned and we are in the process of hiring new staff. Amy Kukla worked in Charlotte Mecklenburg Library for six years. She speared headed several  initiatives which brought community awareness to the importance of early literacy. In 2007, Amy hosted a Community Literacy Envisioning Day. This event brought over fifty community leaders together to take ownership and become involved in early literacy in Charlotte. Other initiatives Amy worked on was the Born Reader Program, which puts books and literacy information in the hands of families with new born babies. The Born Reader is a collaborative project with Carolina Medical Center and Presbyterian Hospital. The book shelf programs have created literacy rich waiting rooms in several community agencies such as Department of Social Services and WIC offices. Amy leaves the library knowing she has touched the lives of thousands of children and families as she connected them with books and information that will last throughout their education and beyond!
Miss Varanrat Torok was more than a staff member, she was a force of energy. Though she will be remembered for many wonderful community programs, especially her technology programs that supported literacy and workforce development to English language learners, she will be known for her amazing photographer and her ability to capture the library's key messages with phenomenal pictures. Just this year, Varanrat put a face with our new adult summer reading program. Many of her pictures were used in the library's strategic plan document, not to mention the authors, festivals and events she photographed over the years.
Many thanks to Varanrat and Amy for their years of dedication to the department, organization and community. They definitely left big shoes to fill, but we are excited about filling them. We are ready to get back in the community, expand our services and continue to meet the needs of those who can't get into our building for services and resources.
We are ready to live, grow and go with the changes! We are exposed, open and I am ready to throw myself into the next chapter. And guess what Charlotte, I'm taking you with me! Stay Tuned!

Amy Kukla and the Read to Me Charlotte Book Shelf Project

Author Christopher Buckley by Varanrat Torok