January 2011 Report

Library Director’s Report- January 2011

The Governor’s proposed budget decreases General Fund assistance for public libraries by $30.4 million in FY 2011-12, eliminating the California Library Services Act, Public Library Foundation and the California Library Literacy and English Acquisition Services—that is, access, resource sharing and adult literacy. This translates to approximately $300,000 for Redwood City annually.

If California Library Services Act (CLSA) funding is completely eliminated, what programs/services are actually affected? For our library and consortium the following will be affected:

  • Equal access – the ability for residents from any member library to receive services from any other member libraries (in our case, seamless borrowing of materials). Several library directors have expressed concerns about non-resident fees being put in place if CLSA (e.g., TBR) is eliminated.
  • Delivery – our vans and drivers touch almost every library jurisdiction at least three times each week. We move library materials from one library to another, saving each of our libraries thousands of dollars in shipping costs.
  • Staff development – workshops and training opportunities at a reduced cost.
  • Leveraging reduced purchase prices through Califa.

If the California Library Literacy and English Acquisition Services Program (CLLS) is eliminated it will decrease Project READ revenue by $100,000 which is leveraged into two times that amount, serves hundreds of adult learners and provides opportunities for tutoring delivered by volunteers, utilizing one of our most important resource: the community!

A joint PRCS/Library afterschool program at the Schaberg Branch Library will begin in February. Homework help, recreational and enrichment activities are planned for the Roosevelt School children. Although it is fee-based, we will give scholarships to any family needing financial assistance. Because of the reduced hours at the library, our school-aged kids participating in the program downstairs and outside, will have a safe place to go after school and it will also reduce the congestion and noise in the library itself, as our young parents and their children, and our seniors, enjoy the library in the afternoons.

In the past month, the Downtown Library Teen Room, part of the Learning Center, was used by over 450 unduplicated teens from our community, with a daily average of 45. All kids are required to sign in and out to better track usage and to coordinate our statistics with PRCS and other agencies. Numbers are increasing as we have added a dedicated homework center with tutoring, and more activities. Teens have said in our surveys they value that there is a safe place for them downtown, and many have specifically stated that they use the library to stay out of the influence of neighborhood gangs. We are also planning, with the help of PD, a series of presentations for staff, teens, parents and the general community regarding teen issues, safety, and gang related information.

Our powerful partnership between schools and the Redwood City Library that has promoted books and reading to thousands of Redwood City students and their families over the last three years, will be starting in February. Hector Viveros Lee, author/illustrator of I Had a Hippopotamus, kicks it off, bringing his humor and drawing chops to Hoover School on Feb 15. Elizabeth Gomez takes over after that, appearing at Taft School on March 15, Selby Lane on March 16, Fair Oaks on March 17, Garfield on April 7, and Hawes on April 28. Elizabeth is a local talent – check out her mural in the Family Place of the Downtown Library – whose book The Upside Down Boy/El niño de cabeza, will be given away to students.

Family Author Night started in 2008 as a pilot project at Hoover. The idea was to bring a Latino author to school, and to hold the program in Spanish, with simultaneous English translation. It was scheduled at night so that not only students but their entire families could attend. Copies of the author’s books were given away to students ahead of time. The result was an exhilarating community event that exceeded all expectations as some 375 people turned up to hear award-winning writer Francisco Jimenez speak. Afterwards, kids happily stood in line for over an hour to get their books signed and to meet the real, live author.

The program was such a success that the Friends of the Library decided to sponsor it the following year. They provided the funds to extend Family Author Nights to four schools, and then to six schools the year after that. Thanks to the generosity and support of the Friends of the Library, there will again be six Family Author Nights in the school in 2011. There will be two authors this year, with a grand total of 1,987 of their books given away to students.

Staff and Traveling Storytime volunteer, Jeanie Isaacs, were invited to speak at the January meeting of the Redwood City Optimists Club. They gave an overview of the program and the positive impact that it makes on improving preschool literacy, and Jeanie gave a testimonial about what being a volunteer in the program has meant to her.  Both Jeanie and Jan thanked the group for its past financial support and showed concrete examples of what their past donations have purchased for the program. The Optimists surprised Jan and Jeanie with a gift of additional funding.

One Book – One Community” is an exciting community activity that invites everyone in Redwood City and throughout San Mateo County to read the same great book, at the same time. This October, the community is invited to read Packing for Mars: the Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach, and to attend some great community events related to the book, including the main event in Downtown Redwood City:

Mary Roach in Conversation at the Fox Theatre, Redwood City – Thursday, October 13 at 7 pm. What happens when science and humor intersect? Science becomes interesting.  And author Mary Roach understands this. Here’s what some are saying about this San Francisco Chronicle #1 bestseller:

  • “This completely awesome book’s awesomeness is so awesomely awesome that it’s difficult to get across just how awesome it is. It’s a fun, intelligent, and engrossing read, something that a dude can get excited about.” – Douglas Lord, libraryjournal.com
    “Hilarious.” —Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

Events related to this County-wide book reading program will be held at libraries throughout San Mateo County, and will be posted on library web sites.

It’s amazing to hear about what a month in the life of Project READ is like:

Project READ report

Project READ Families Literacy Learning Center (FLIC)
We started off the New Year strong with some of our busiest days of tutoring in the past few months. More new families have joined our program, most friends or neighbors of learners. We also welcome new teen and preteen tutors from our January Youth Tutor Training, which is always an exciting process. This training among the graduates we are happy to say that two preteen tutors are also Project READ learners meeting with their tutors in the evening. It is also so rewarding to see our learners become tutors for them and us.

We also welcomed 16 Summit Teen volunteer interns this month.  The Summit teens helped us prepare crafts for our Story Hours and made decorations for the 2011 summer BBQ and awards ceremony. They worked with us each day for two hours. It was great to see the beautiful artwork they created and the projects they came up with for our students.  Their dedication and enthusiasm was amazing!

Project READ Adult Programs
A tutor said it best about her young adult learner, “I think Richard is starting to recognize that his fears of certain subject matters—e.g. maps, charts & graphs, long division—are unfounded and that he can understand things if we just take them slowly, one step at a time. “I can’t say the fears are gone, but I do see progress toward conquering them.”

A new Fathers and Families session started this month. 7 men are participating.
A previous Project READ inmate-learner, working toward his GED, was recommended by the Choices program leaders, peers and mentors to become an inmate peer-tutor.  He decided to sign-up for Tutor Training and has been approved to join the January Inmate Tutor Training Workshop. His reading comprehension has improved, and he has passed two GED tests in the past few months.  He is going to be a great tutor, living the “each one teach one” philosophy.

One particular adult-inmate learner has been easily discouraged in previous learning environments.  Although learning has been hard for him, he is thriving in the program and very pleased with this growth.  He learned to use a dictionary this month.  He is looking forward to using his new skills to achieve his goals and give back to society.

Families for Literacy (FFL)
These adult learners with the goal of improving their literacy skills to help their children have logged in over 760 hours of learning hours in the Families Literacy Learning Center with close to 200 hours of computer aided learning usage.  An FFL mother, matched with her first tutor in October 2010, raved about how Project READ has helped her and her children.  She says her 2.5-year-old daughter is learning also. The mother already feels she is better able to help her children with their schoolwork and the children are so happy to be able to complete their homework each night with mom’s help.

Families for Literacy Story Hour

This month we celebrated the New Year in our Story Hour. With the help of Hands on Bay Area (HOBA) and our community volunteers we prepared three pre-literacy crafts for our families from household items. One of our former AmeriCorps members who is now a Teen Center Leader filled in as entertainment, he read books to the kids and did an amazing job of creating a fun learning environment for parent and child alike. We welcomed over 50 families this month.

Kids in Partnership (KIP) Tutoring Updates
Over 120 youth continue to participate in the KIP program. These are elementary, middle school and teenaged youth who dedicate their time to helping themselves and others achieve academic success. Some of the preteen tutors reflected on what they have learned so far as new tutors…

·     “I learned that it is sometimes easy and sometimes hard because sometimes your learner doesn’t want to do an activity when you want to, but you do what your learner wants to do to keep her happy. Sometimes you have to be supportive.”
·     “I learned how to use little number lines to subtract and to actually help my buddy with reading.”

·     “I learned how to be a good tutor and that my learner likes to color.”

·     “I learned to be patient with our buddies, and to always stay with our buddies and to do the same activity together.”

·     “I learned that my buddy has a lot of energy and likes to run around all the time.”

·      “I learned how to help my learner in everything she needs.”

·     “I actually learned how to help my buddy do her homework without whining.  She had a fun time.  I think I am actually a really good helper.”

·     “Now I know how to tutor little kids and help them on the stuff that they need help on.”

·      “I learned how to read instructions on paper by reading my buddy’s homework. I also learned how to check out books.”

·      “I learned that you have to keep up with your learner!”

·     “I learned how to become a tutor, how to help kids and how to help little kids with their work.”

·     “I learned we didn’t have to be hard on the kids so they can pay attention to you. I also learned that my learner likes to eat a lot. He also likes to look at books of trains and cars and other automatic things.”

Teen and Preteen Workshops and On-Going Trainings:
In January, teen and preteen tutors continued to participate in on-going trainings and workshops. These workshops were designed based on tutor feedback to refine tutoring skills and also help tutors reach their own academic and life goals. This month’s topics included:
·     Winter crafts with your learner
·     FAFSA workshop
·     Resume building workshop
·     Goal setting workshop
·     Using games to help your buddy learn
·     Math literacy – place value and number sense concentration

KIP Story Hour:
Also this month, the KIP story hour at the Fair Oaks Community Library drew over 65 KIP learners, tutors and families. Everyone came to kick off the New Year and enjoy the lively and educational entertainment of the Lori and RJ from the Cotton Candy Express!  Adults and children alike joined in the fun by singing, dancing and playing instruments. Each family received a children’s favorite, I Spy through the Seasons to take with them to add to their home library collection. Participants also created 2011 calendars and family and friends birthday wheels to mark celebrations throughout the year.

Using the Library Beyond KIP:
One of the goals of Project READ’s KIP program is to introduce and orient our families to the public library so that they will become lifelong library users.  For most of the KIP students, their first visits to the public library are on the KIP bus.  This winter break, we were thrilled to see that many of our preteen tutors and even entire KIP families came to the library on their own!  They checked out books and used the computers.  One preteen tutor even started bringing her mom, little brother and little sister to Project READ’s Family Literacy & Instructional Center.  Now a fifth grader and the oldest child in her family, she worked with staff and Project READ volunteers to get her family the help she had received as a young first grader in the KIP program. Our children continue to bring in their parents to request literacy help also.


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