Participating Libraries
American Falls
Cascade Public Library
Community Library Network, Hayden
Jerome Public Library
Lemhi County District Library, Salmon
Nampa Public Library
Prairie River Library District

American Falls District Library

American Falls, Idaho

Awarded: $10,000

  • In-progress

Partners: American Falls School District/ ReadTalkPlay Committee, Idaho Public Television

Project:

The American Falls District Library used a multifaceted approach utilizing existing community organizations to support and promote early childhood education in American Falls. They worked collaboratively in the following areas: holding weekly story times in Spanish, partnering with Idaho Public Television (IDPTV) to hold family STEM nights, working with AF School District’s Read Talk Play Everyday initiative (RTP) to create and distribute kindergarten readiness publicity materials and summer learning backpacks, creating preschool skills kits/bins for patron and preschool use, and establishing stay and play activities in the library to promote readiness skills.

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Children served
0
Families served
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Library cards issued

Best Practices:

  1. Holding family programming events in the evening: We found from holding our family STEM nights in the evening that families appreciated the additional programming hours. Many families who are not able to attend our weekly, daytime story times we able to attend our evening programming and voiced their appreciation for the events.
  2. Partnering with RTP: Through our partnership with AF School District’s RTP initiative committee we found strength in being part of a cohesive community plan to promote, and strengthen early learning in American Falls. By collaborating we were able to strengthen the success of our program by utilizing resources (publicity, communication, & support) cohesively that were mutually beneficial to the library and the school’s initiative.
  3. Community education materials & summer learning backpacks: Through our collaborative efforts with RTP, we were able to successfully create a list of kindergarten readiness standards that can be used and promoted throughout our community. We also used these standards to create summer learning backpacks to provide and help parents provide learning opportunities and resources to teach these standards at home.

Biggest Success:

Our biggest success was the collaboration that took place with our partners, IPTV and RTP, and how by working together we were able to promote Kindergarten Readiness in our community on many different levels and in different ways than we had previously been able to. Through collaboration, we were able to produce educational materials to highlight the skills necessary to be kindergarten ready. We were able to teach and promote those skills during our STEM nights, having many families who are not normally library frequenters attend, at our Spanish story time hour, and with new preschool skill kits/bins available for checkout and library use. Head Start was able to use the skill bins we created during parent meetings with students, to show parents how to play with and teach their children through play. We also collaboratively put together 150 summer learning skills kits that will help parents have resources and ideas of activities to do with their children over the summer to help them develop skills necessary for kindergarten. Through our collaboration we were able to reach a broad range of families and provide education, materials, and knowledge about kindergarten readiness.

Caveats:

  1. Planning and holding events during Parent Teacher Conference week when the elementary school was out, was not a great time to hold an event. We had the lowest turnout at our STEM night when it was on a date when school was out.
  2. Finding a good way to expand our Spanish story time hour. We tried communicating through the school district’s Hispanic parent group, migrant council, word of mouth, businesses, individual contacting and other avenues and were never able to gain traction in our program. In the future we would try to hold our program during a different time of day or in the evening.
  3. Having our final two STEM nights canceled because of COVID-19 was frustrating. We were able to utilize the books we purchased to create reading bags for Head Start students that were handed out to families during the Stay at Home order. We also were able to create summer learning backpacks to give to families to help with early learning education at home during the pandemic to help offset the cancellation of our STEM nights.

Biggest Challenge:

Besides COVID-19 halting the momentum of the programming of our events, the biggest challenge we faced was our Spanish Story time program. We tried so many different avenues to advertise and promote our program and were never able to get a consistent larger attendance. We have a decent number of Hispanic families that attend the library and utilize it’s resources, and would communicate to these families about the story time, and each family would seem excited to attend and express interest in attending. But, many never attended. We were able to learn that communicating what library programs are in better detail (for example explicitly saying registration not required) is important when promoting and translating the promotion of the program.

Evaluation:

Surveys at STEM night workshops: Surveys conducted at the beginning and end of each STEM night (see Documents and Resources). Parents had to turn in a completed survey before their children could receive the provided books and other promotional education materials from RTP. Many parents surveyed reported that they didn’t have a good understanding of STEM and were not comfortable doing STEM activities with their children, or using STEM language before our STEM nights. The majority of parents reported that they felt more comfortable doing STEM activities, using STEM language and had a greater understanding of STEM after each of our STEM nights.

Surveys periodically at our Spanish Story Time Hour

DOCUMENTS AND RESOURCES

(Coming soon)

CONTACT INFO

Kindra Munk
Director

kindra@aflibrary.org

PROJECT GALLERY PICS

Cascade Public Library

Awarded: $5,000

  • In-progress

Partners: Cascade School District, Horizons Lifestyle and Education Team

Project:

Working closely with Cascade School District to develop an adjunct Kindergarten Readiness program consisting of outreach and in-house programs and materials, targeting children who do not qualify for the school’s developmental preschool program. Components include: Enhanced storytimes; bimonthly kindergarten readiness programming; K Ready kits for checkout (educational materials, mobile hotspot, tablet); outreach to families with non-traditional work hours; waiver of fees for out-of-district families living within school district. Also working with Horizons to build on existing after-school program to include additional K Ready programming.

Our project ended up looking a lot different than we originally planned, due to the library being closed during the COVID-19 crisis. Rather than conducting five in-person program sessions between February and May 2020, to be attended by both parents/caregivers and children, we were only able to hold two sessions. The tablets, backpacks, and supplemental handouts ended up working well, and we provided a kindergarten readiness backpack to each family to keep.

 

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Children served
0
Families served
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Library cards issued

Best Practices:

  1. Tablets – Providing electronic tablets pre-loaded with games and activities specifically targeted for pre-schoolers aged 3-5. Of the five different apps that we loaded, we got the best feedback about Khan Academy Kids, and PBS Kids. Our tablets were locked and managed through a Google Family account to ensure kids could not accidentally download any aps or make any purchases. This allowed parents/caregivers to feel comfortable letting their kids play with the tablets without worry or concern.
  2. Skill-building Backpacks – We purchased a number of activity backpacks for the library’s collection, as well as incentive backpacks that each child got to keep at the end of the program. We got good feedback from families that children enjoyed and engaged with these backpacks at home. We made sure to have different backpacks in our collection so K-Ready families could swap them out as needed for variety.
  3. In-person engagement – Our families really appreciated being able to meet in person, and for their children to engage in fun interactive activities with other kids from the community. Living in a far-flung rural community, families are often isolated and don’t have many opportunities outside of school for their children to engage in group learning. We were only able to offer two in-person sessions prior to closing down for COVID, but both were very successful.

Biggest Success:

We had been a little worried about whether we’d be able to recruit enough families for the program. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the interest and turnout. We set our program capacity to 10 children, as this many children with parents is the maximum we can fit in our kid’s area for the in-person sessions we had planned. The popularity of both Story Time and K-Ready demonstrated just how much of a need there was in our community for these types of programs. Our K-Ready families said that even when stuck at home, kids were very engaged with the activity packets we sent out, and were eager for ways to continue with their learning.

Caveats:

We were not able to fully implement the program in the way we had planned due to COVID closures. We were only able to offer two of the five in-person sessions we had planned, and both of these were largely successful. For the other three sessions, we mailed out packets of handouts and activities and connected with families by email to see how they were doing. It’s hard to say how we might have improved our program without having the opportunity to truly implement it the way we intended. If we had seen the global pandemic coming, we might have loaded Zoom onto the K-Ready tablets so we could meet virtually with our families.

Biggest Challenge:

COVID-19. However, in spite of this global crisis, we were able to continue the program remotely via email and mailed activity packets. Several families expressed gratitude for having the tablets at home during isolation, as they were a useful tool for keeping their kids engaged. Families also provided positive feedback about the three different packets of handouts and activities we mailed to them in lieu of our in-person meetings.

Evaluation:

Our plan was to have parents fill out a very short questionnaire on the first day of the program and then fill out the same questionnaire on the last day of the program. We collected the pre-survey but were not able to distribute post-surveys since we only offered two sessions.

DOCUMENTS AND RESOURCES

(Will be added from interim report)

CONTACT INFO

Amelia Valasek
Director

librarydirector@cascadeid.us

PROJECT GALLERY PICS

Community Library Network

Hayden Branch

Awarded: $10,000

  • In-progress

Partners: United Way of North Idaho, Post Falls School District, Opening Books Opening Doors, Coeur d’Alene School District, Mountain States Early Head Start

 

Project:

Collaborating with partners to develop early literacy backpacks that will be distributed to every four-year-old that attends a community event or attends a program in their neighborhood via Pop-Up Library Storytime outreach events. Community events include partnerships with health clinics, Head Start, Preschool Developmental Screenings, and many other nonprofits targeting at-risk families. Pop-Up Library Storytime will target low-income neighborhoods identified by the school district, as well as community locations such as food distribution sites.

DOCUMENTS AND RESOURCES

(Will be added from interim report)

CONTACT INFO

Karen Yother
Youth Services Coordinator

kareny@communitylibrary.net

PROJECT GALLERY PICS

Jerome Public Library

Awarded: $7,500

  • In-progress

Partners: United Way of South Central Idaho, Northside Head Start, First Baptist Preschool

Project:

Targeting low-income and Spanish-speaking families, the following components will help educate parents and help them prepare their children for kindergarten: Ready! for Kindergarten workshops in English and Spanish; Spanish storytimes (both at the library and through outreach); early literacy kits for checkout, English and Spanish; library card outreach to Spanish-speaking families, low-income families, and out-of-district families whose fees will be waived by sponsorships; vision and hearing screenings during storytimes. Library will work with community partners to identify and reach target families.

DOCUMENTS AND RESOURCES

(Will be added from interim report)

CONTACT INFO

Linda Mecham
Director

lmecham@ci.jerome.id.us

PROJECT GALLERY PICS

Lemhi County District Library

Main Library, Salmon

Awarded: $10,000

  • In-progress

Partners: Salmon School District Child Development Center, EICAP Head Start, Kids Creek Early Education Center, Adventure Academy Early Learning Center

Project:

Grant funds will be used to create the position of Kindergarten Readiness Coordinator, who will expand preschool outreach programs, partner with local child care organizations to host library card drives, add additional storytimes, develop early learning kits for checkout, and establish Stay and Play activities for preschoolers and their families at the library.

DOCUMENTS AND RESOURCES

(Will be added from interim report)

CONTACT INFO

Francesca Bessey
Programs Staff

Francesca.salmonmakers@gmail.com

PROJECT GALLERY PICS

Nampa Public Library

Awarded: $10,000

  • In-progress

Partner: Nampa School District, State Department of Education

Project:

The Nampa Library’s “Bilingual Kindergarten Readiness” project has two main components: 1) Pilot program at Dual Language Magnet Preschool that provides bilingual take-home early learning backpacks and classroom kits, and 2) Library Program: Two Kindergarten Readiness programs will be offered at the library (English and Spanish), along with take-home kits for participants. Hot spots will also be circulated. Up to 40 non-resident cards will be funded during the grant period, and kindergarten readiness stations will be created and rotated to encourage Stay and Play interaction. The library will also be working closely with the State Department of Education’s Migrant Education Coordinator to better reach Latino families and encourage participation in all these programs and services.

DOCUMENTS AND RESOURCES

(Will be added from interim report)

CONTACT INFO

Joyce Graff
Youth Services Lead

graffj@cityofnampa.us

PROJECT GALLERY PICS

Prairie River Library District

Lapwai, Craigmont, Culdesac, Kamiah, Kooskia, Nezperce, Peck, Winchester

Awarded: $7,500

  • In-progress

Partners: Nezperce Joint School District, Highland Joint School District, Peck Elementary School

Project:

The library district will work with educators in the schools and school districts listed above to develop early learning kits, focusing on specific skills identified by the teachers as critical to kindergarten readiness. The library district will re-purpose materials in their current kits, as well as use grant funds to purchase additional materials and books. All branches in the district will expand outreach efforts, kits and library services will be promoted at all community events, staff will sign families up for library cards, and staff training will be provided in order to better communicate with parents and caregivers about how to prepare their children for school. A marketing campaign will also be developed to promote kindergarten readiness, the Kits, and library cards.

 

DOCUMENTS AND RESOURCES

(Will be added from interim report)

CONTACT INFO

Michael Priest
Director

mpriest@prld.org

PROJECT GALLERY PICS