January 2012 Report

Library Director’s Report- January 2012

 The 2011 National ratings for all public libraries have been released and once again Redwood Cityreceived the highest 5 star rating. We are the highest rated library of any size in the State. This includes everyCalifornia city and every county library system! There are only two 5 star libraries inCalifornia (Redwood City had a higher score than the other) and twenty 5 star rated libraries in the entire country. Criteria include (all per capita): items borrowed, number of library visits, number of programs and attendance, public computer use and hours open. This is such a huge accomplishment! Our staff continues to deliver great library service to our community, even if resources have diminished.

We all know that almost 1,400 folks volunteered for the library last year-tutoring, reading stories to kids, fundraising–but one encouraging trend is the increasing number of teens who give their time to mentor and tutor younger at–risk kids in need of assistance and provide a healthy role model. We now have 150 teen tutors engaged in Project READ’s Kids in Partnership program–a one year commitment where these kids are changing, not only their student’s lives, but their own.

We have fostered a new community partnership with the Young Dreamers Network, a Bay Area-based youth development program that empowers youth to bring positive change to their community. Many of our new teen tutors are also part of this youth program. The teens and preteens come from various schools within Redwood City, and offer unique perspective and skills to the training. The teens began last week mentoring and tutoring our youngest students and have already created a positive and supportive learning environment for our young learners.

The Library Foundation extended their contract for Georgi LaBerge as Executive Director. We are very fortunate to have Georgi lead our wonderful and effective Foundation!

The Friends of the Library have been very successful selling certain donations through Amazon. Not only is the bookstore running well, and special events such as the Farmer’s Market bring in revenue, this new Amazon venue stretches their market nationally. The Friends have set an annual goal of raising $100,000 to support our family and adult programs.

Thanks to a grant obtained by the Library Foundation from Cargill, the library was able to bring local artist Elizabeth Gomez to Adelante School. The grant includes funds for a Family Author Night, to take place on February 2 at Adelante, and for Elizabeth to provide art workshops for every 4th grader. The art workshops took place over several hours on January 19 and involved 68 students. Elizabeth used the colorful book Our California by Pam Muñoz Ryan as a jumping off point. Students then added an extra page of their own to the book, including an illustration and four line poem describing something about their California. Copies of Our California for each fourth grader plus a hundred copies to give away for free to attendees at the Family Author Night on February 2 were also provided by the Cargill grant. Students were inspired by the project and got an idea of how books are made–not to mention that they are made by real people, just like themselves. A great time was had by all.

Family Author Nights 2012 started off with a bang atTaftSchool. Author and performer Matthew Gollub drew an audience of well over 300 people to hear his dynamic bilingual presentation. Using drums, mixed media and lots of audience participation, Matthew pitches a lesson in literacy that goes down easy with students and their parents. The vibe at Family Author Nights is wonderful but hard to describe. There is always a lot of noise and hubbub (which sometimes challenges the presenters), but it’s all festive. The parent group sells food to raise funds for Outdoor Ed, The Friends sell used books, and the author’s books are given away to excited children. While the author signs his books, and patiently talks to each child, The Gran Rifa–the Big Raffle–is held and the suspense is tremendous. It is part assembly, part carnival, and part town meeting with the library bringing together the school community. It’s a night when books and the library shine. Family Author Nights will be coming to seven schools this year, thanks to the generosity and support of the Friends of the Library who fund the presenter and buy books to give away to students. Thanks to the Friends and to our partners in the schools who work so hard to make Family Author Nights so successful.

Starting in March, the Downtown library will host a volunteer Mandarin storytime. The storytime will take place every third Saturday at 10:15.

Library staff and card applications have been going out to every kindergartener in the district to support our annual KinderCard Campaign. KinderCard SuperSaturday, the open house event for kindergartners and their families, will be on March 3.

Project READ Accomplishments-January 2012

Project READ Celebrating the Gift of Time…Our teen and preteen tutors completed over 930 hours of community service tutoring in the Kids In Partnership (KIP) program during the Fall 2011 semester! Their time has been well spent tutoring the little elementary students.

In recent follow up assessments, designed to note progress and refocus goals, KIP students shared the accomplishments in their own words:

“My learner and I went over some of her previous homework assignments just to see what things she needs help on.  She has improved in her English skills a lot more since the beginning of KIP this year which is astounding!”

“I’ve learned to do my letters and read more words.” (Dayrin,grade 2)

“I learned to write my last name…I know how to borrow…I’m getting better at reading…I’m getting better at writing because I didn’t know about the spaces before but now I do know…I can also count to 100 now!” (Perla,grade 2)

A Special Gift… One of our longtime families is especially thankful for the generosity of Project READ supporters. Thanks to their heartfelt donations, a Project READ fifth grader was able to receive an eye exam as well as the necessary lenses and frames vital to her continued academic success.  She is so thankful for the glasses and for the help they have given her with reading!

Project READ Kids in Partnership (KIP) Story Hour at Fair Oaks Branch: The KIP story hour held at the Fair Oaks Community Library drew over 75 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, My Many Colored Days to take with them to add to their home library collection. Participants also created 2012 calendars to mark celebrations throughout the year.

Project READ learners receive a generous donation from Ormondale Elementary School of Portola Valley.  As part of Ormondale’s 2011 Book Fair, students and parents made contributions to the fund for books and materials for the families of Project READ. Project READ staff had the opportunity to shop for over $1,500.00 worth of books and gifts to be given out to our Project READ families!  The books will continue to give our families the joy of reading!!

On the Ice in Downtown Redwood City! Project READ preteen tutors and AmeriCorps members were thrilled with Redwood City’s new Courthouse Square Ice Skating Rink!  As a thank you to reward our preteens for doing double-duty as both learners and tutors this year, Project READ staff and tutors enjoyed an afternoon on the ice.

Destination…the BIG Downtown Library! As our preteen tutors enjoyed a week of adventure at Outdoor Education, our youngest students took a field trip to the big library!  They completed art, cooking and computer activities in Project READ’sFamilyLiteracyInstructionalCenter.  However, the highlight of the visit was when they ventured downstairs to the children’s room and explored all of the books.

Project READ Adult, Families For Literacy and Adult Inmate programs: Inmate and their families working hard to succeed!  We welcomed and matched 2 new families to our Families for Literacy program and celebrated 6 learners who graduated the Project READ poetry class offered at the Women’s County Correctional Facility.  The women also were able to successfully compile an anthology of their work to share with families and other learners.  In the men’s facility 6 men passed GED tests and 2 men completed all testing and received their GEDs. Our Mothers and Families literacy program graduates of the Women’s County Transitional Facility recorded 15 Children’s books and their recordings were sent home for their children to enjoy a story read by mom at bedtime.

Project READ Families For Literacy Story Hour: 150 families and friends came to join us in singing, dancing, art and more. Cotton Candy Express, the award-winning children’s band, started the night off for us with music and dancing. Children were able to perform for their families up on “stage.” After the entertainment, 15 volunteers including Hands On Bay Area (HOBA) members, Starbucks volunteers and Junior League of Palo Alto volunteers, helped the children and their families making crafts. To complete an amazing evening our friends at Starbucks brought peppermint hot chocolate to serve to all the families!!

Project READ Family Literacy Learning Center (FLIC) – New Connections and Preteen Tutors: This month we were fortunate to graduate 30 new teen and preteen FLIC tutors! We also fostered a new community partnership with the Young Dreamers Network, a Bay Area-based youth development program that empowers youth to bring positive change to their community. Many of our new teen tutors are also part if this youth program. The teens and preteens came from various schools within Redwood City, and offered unique perspective and skills to the training. The teens began last week mentoring and tutoring our youngest students.  The teens crated a positive and supportive learning environment for our young learners. Welcome Young Dreamers Network!!!!

Project READ teams up with Summit School Teen Volunteers: A group of nine teenagers from Summit And Everest joined us this month to help us prepare art projects and supplemental learning projects for our elementary students. During their intersession, the students chose to intern with Project READ every day for the month of January. The teens were able to help us brainstorm about projects for the younger learners, work on art projects and share in the experience of volunteering in their own community. One of the teens is a graduate of our Kids In Partnership program who attended Fair Oaks School. It was exciting for her to be able to give back to that program, and it thrilled us to see how much she has excelled.

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