By Janet Ingraham Dwyer, Youth Services Library Consultant
State Library of Ohio
I’m sharing notes from the sessions I attended at the 2012 Public Library Association Conference in Philadelphia last month, in hopes that this information will be useful to the youth services community and others. These notes were also posted to the Library Youth Services listserv.
This program, Collaborating with Child Care Providers, discussed the role of the public library in working with child care providers to support common goals of strengthening early literacy in young children. The speakers included early childhood literacy consultant Saroj Ghoting and Amy Read of the New Hanover (NC) Public Library.
The content was inclusive of informal providers (babysitters, nannies, relatives) as well as formal settings. Just over half of individuals who work as providers are in licensed settings (1.3 million out of 2.3 million total individual providers). Many states require no training in early childhood development before beginning work. The education level of providers varies – HS diploma, Child Care licensure/credentials, Associate, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree – and their knowledge of early literacy and children’s literature varies as well.
What are libraries offering? Services described include storytimes in the childcare setting, storytime at the library, other programs, field trips, deposit collections, bookmobiles, outside speakers (e.g. speech pathologist or other expert; this works best when done regularly), workshops provided by library staff, summer reading program (consider booklist of good books for groups, to help providers select titles for their group setting), “Nanny Night” at the library – social time for young nannies to get together (many have limited English), newsletter for childcare providers, social media – library staff tweet messages/ideas to parents, and a story walk.
Multnomah County (OR) Library offers Early Words workshops in English, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. PDFs of the curricula are available for free download: http://www.multcolib.org/birthtosix/ecr/curriculum/
To get library workshops approved for credit, start at the childcare resource and referral agency to find out the approval process (note from Janet: Ohio’s agency is the Ohio Child Care Resource & Referral Association or OCCRRA: http://www.occrra.org/).
A “What Do We Have in Common” handout created by Saroj is a Boolean chart listing similarities and differences among libraries, childcare centers, and family child care providers:
How to adapt library services to meet this audience?
• Add early literacy information to common library services/resources – deposit collections, newsletters, website, booklists, etc.
• Consider adding a new section of the website specifically targeting childcare providers and service providers.
• Create early literacy materials kits – bag or folder to hand out to providers.
• Adapt the same storytime to parent & child group, teachers, and preschools
• Create a regular storytime handout (for parents and all adult attendee) with follow-up activities, plus an additional handout with storytime extensions, ideas for additional books, fingerplays, etc. to give to providers along with the regular handout.
Develop the ability to interpret library services in a way child care providers understand. Put information about early literacy and Every Child Ready to Read into relation with licensing requirements & learning standards. This helps to get buy-in w/licensing agencies and administrators. (note from Janet: for Ohio librarians, the Ohio Early Literacy Crosswalk relates ECRR concepts, including the Five Practices and the Six Skills, to Ohio’s PreK Content Standards and to Head Start outcomes: http://ohelcrosswalk.wikispaces.com/).
Finally, consider how childcare providers strengthen the library:
Circulation; storytime ideas; titles for parent/teacher collection; promotion – they reach parents who are non-library users; support for libraries in political arena; they help us see storytimes in terms of education & child development.
Handouts and PowerPoints from this session are available for free download at http://placonference.org/programs.