A huge thank you for a fantastic conference. I left feeling energized and ready to implement so much of what I learned from the speakers. Also, I cannot thank you enough for all the amazing and generous giveaways you sent home with us! ~ Library Attendee

The biennial Read to Me Rendezvous was held November 14 – 15, 2023 in Boise. Idaho has had an influx of new library staff over the past five years, so the 2023 event was geared toward public library staff who have been in the library for less than three years, or who had never participated in an Every Child Every Child Ready to Read® training, or who had no or limited experience with conducting developmentally-appropriate storytimes. We really wanted to support our library friends who are newer to early learning services by providing them with high-quality hands-on experiences, and connecting them to resources and mentors.

Approximately 50 library staff attended the training, representing libraries as far north as West Bonner County, as far south as Larsen-Sant, and as far east as Madison County. Ten librarians who are experienced in early learning library programming joined to serve as table facilitators throughout the event.

The focus of the first day was to establish a strong foundation for serving young children and their families. Staff from the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children (Idaho AEYC) facilitated a two-hour Strengthening Families session that included the “Building Blocks of HOPE” (Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences) and the Brain Architecture Game, which together illustrated the importance of the librarian’s role in a child’s life. The afternoon was facilitated by four dynamic Idaho librarians who conducted an interactive Every Child Ready to Read® workshop. Thanks to Charlene Beach (Coeur d’Alene Public Library), Amanda Bowden (Portneuf District Library), Gabby Stoller (Meridian Library District), and Mackie Welch (Boise Public Library) for outstanding facilitation and for sharing so many great ideas!

Day 2 focused on learning the fundamentals of storytime and early learning programming, and was facilitated by Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen, founder of Mother Goose on the Loose, LLC. ICfL provided Storytime Kits for each library, containing a copy of the Mother Goose on the Loose storytime resource book and several props to use in storytimes and math programs. Participants sang, danced, played musical instruments, read favorite books, and learned how to incorporate early math skills into programming. We ended the day by reflecting on how we can be involved in our profession through continuing education, becoming active in the library community, and setting goals.

We packed a lot of information into the two-day event, and we hope to continue the conversations throughout the upcoming year through Early Learning LITT chats and Idaho Library Association Early Learning Action Committee discussions!

A special thanks to the librarians who served as mentors and table facilitators: Kasi Allen (Twin Falls Public Library); Charlene Beach (Coeur d’Alene Public Library); Amanda Bowden (Portneuf District Library); Maria Cottle (Meridian Library District); Lauren Hays (CLN, Hayden Branch); Jana Hill (Ada Community Library); Azzia Lamberson (Nampa Public Library); Gabby Stoller (Meridian Library District); Alaina Terry (Kuna Library District); and Mackie Welch (Boise Public Library).

The next Read to Me Rendezvous will be held in the fall of 2025.

See more photos on our Read to Me Facebook page.

Staci Shaw

Staci Shaw

Youth Services Consultant
Email / 208-639-4178
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