Do we praise the work of librarians enough? I started following the Ferguson Library on twitter and Facebook after reading how it was the calm eye of the storm in Ferguson, Missouri, amid the 2014 riots. As a result, I now get good leads about other libraries. Here is a report on Ohio librarians who go the distance — and beyond.
Katie Johnson at School Library Journal describes her experience with “Play, Learn and Grow, a pop-up storytime and early learning program created through a collaboration between Twinsburg (OH) Public Library and Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA). …
“I noticed that none of the children living in the housing development were coming to storytime at our library. I reached out to AMHA representatives, hoping they would be open to the idea of the library hosting a weekly program at the development. They were, partnering me with one of their employees, Kellie Morehouse, who was already working with families within the complex.
“We set up Play, Grow, and Learn in an unused room behind the apartment leasing office. Our initial goal was to get to know children age five and younger and their families through storytime, crafts, and free play. As the weeks went on, we saw everything that these families lacked: employment, education, transportation, healthy food, proper healthcare, access to preschool, even reliable phone service.”
They got involved in all those areas — helping children get vaccinations and nutritious food, for example, and arranging for isolated young mothers to address depression.
“Early experiences with storytime revealed a desire of the young mothers to interact with one another. This led the AMHA representative to suggest teaming storytime with one of the organization’s programs for moms. AMHA and a local behavioral health agency had been working together to provide maternal depression support groups to low-income women in other parts of the county. …
“Twice a month, the moms in our storytime are able to meet in a group setting with a professional to discuss their frustrations and worries. Mom-ME Time has become key, as so many of our moms are dealing with heavy pressures every day, and most do not have a strong support network. Being able to vent and get helpful parenting advice can be crucial to the choices they are making for their young children.”
It is worthy of applause when a librarian sees the whole child, not just a child in storytime, and tries to tackle the barriers to a better life. More here.
Photo: Katie Johnson/School Library Journal
Moms are included in programming for children.