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Task force formed to promote early literacy, school readiness programs at Kentucky’s public libraries

ky dept libraryFRANKFORT, Ky. (12/23/13) — Research has shown that engaging in early literacy practices such as talking, singing, reading, writing and playing have more of an impact on lifetime success in school than economic status or family education level. Public libraries offer activities in their early childhood programming to learn all of these skills, but many people are not aware that these services are available free of charge in their communities.

To promote public libraries as valuable service providers of school readiness and expand literacy programs in the state, the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) has formed the Kentucky Public Library School Readiness Task Force. The 54-member task force is made up of public librarians, representatives from the Kentucky Department of Education and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood, a University of Kentucky professor and staff from KDLA.

“Public libraries in Kentucky have provided pre-school literacy services through story time groups and other activities for many years,” said task force member and KDLA children’s and youth services consultant Heather Dieffenbach. “With the governor’s emphasis on early childhood education, we wanted to create awareness that public libraries have long been an important community partner in providing early literacy experiences.”

In 2009, Gov. Steve Beshear created the Task Force on Early Childhood Development and Education, which is now a part of the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Education. This task force created a definition for school readiness for Kentucky, which states, “In Kentucky, school readiness means that a child enters school ready to engage in and benefit from early learning experiences that best promote the child’s success.”

The task force also found that “families, early care and education providers, school staff and community partners must work together to provide environments and developmental experiences that promote growth and learning to ensure that all children in Kentucky enter school eager and excited to learn.”

Paul Sawyier Public Library youth services specialist Lynn Baker was instrumental in creating the Kentucky Public Library School Readiness Task Force.

“As a public service organization connected to early childhood literacy, public libraries in Kentucky are in the perfect position to help families, children, schools and communities prepare for success in kindergarten,” said Baker.

“While the public library has long been at the forefront of early literacy services within state and local communities, traditional programs (such as story hour and outreach services, which are rich in early literacy experiences) have not been universally recognized as services meant to help prepare children, families and communities for school,” said Dieffenbach. “The Kentucky Public Library School Readiness Task Force will educate officials and parents of the important role of public libraries in school readiness.”

The Kentucky Public Library School Readiness Task Force members are:

Heather Dieffenbach, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives
Lynn Baker, Paul Sawyier Public Library (Franklin County)
Katy Grant, Louisville Free Public Library
Kate Schiavi, Louisville Free Public Library
Libby McWhorter, Boyle County Public Library
Sandy Linn, Calloway County Public Library
Cheryl Clemons, Grant County Public Library
Sherry Noon, Anderson County Public Library
Delania Adkins, Pike County Public Library
Danielle Anguish, Henderson County Public Library
Emily Snyder, Taylor County Public Library
Ashley Crace, Lincoln County Public Library
Monica Edwards, Warren County Public Library
Lise Tewes, Kenton County Public Library
Marla Ford, Mary Wood Weldon Library (Barren County)
Nellie Jordan, Carter County Public Library
Bookie Wilson, Woodford County Public Library
Tyra LaVerne, Boone County Public Library
Aimee Newberry, McLean County Public Library
Marie Rogers, Meade County Public Library
Jackie Saturley, Christian County Public Library
Kay Morrow, McCreary County Public Library
Patty Brown, Marion County Public Library
Susie Cain, Graves County Public Library
Stacy Tiller, Spencer County Public Library
Rhonda Kendziorski, McCreary County Public Library
Debbie Horn, Paris-Bourbon County Public Library
Christina Partin, Pineville-Bell County Public Library
Amanda McReynolds, Allen County Public Library
Ari Barron, Madison County Public Library
Cindy Franklin, Cynthiana-Harrison County Public Library
Faith Mulberry, Owen County Public Library
Carol Sexton, Pulaski County Public Library
Crystal Packard, LaRue County Public Library
Amy Reisenberg, Gallatin County Public Library
Donna Fee, Clay County Public Library
Shannon Sandefur, Daviess County Public Library
Sarahbeth Farabee, Shelby County Public Library
Kinzie Gaunce, Lexington Public Library Public Library
Malta Fannery, Jackson County Public Library
Jessica Bray, Jackson County Public Library
Michele Turner, Campbell County Public Library
Carole Ann Faulkner, Logan County Public Library
Angel Killough, Hopkins County-Madisonville Public Library
Misty Strain, Clark County Public Library Public Library
Sandy Fleshman, Rowan County Public Library
Bessie Gray, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives
Paige Sexton, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives
Jonathan Campbell, Floyd County Public Library
Jennifer Timmerman, Boone County Public Library
Dr. Maria Cahill, University of Kentucky
Bill Buchanan, Kentucky Department of Education
Albert Fox, Governor’s Office of Early Childhood
Kathy Mansfield, Kentucky Department of Education

KDLA provides equitable access to quality library and information resources and services, as well as helps public agencies ensure that legislatively mandated documentation of government programs is created, efficiently maintained and made accessible. For more information on KDLA resources, programs and services visit www.kdla.ky.gov or call 502-564-8300 ext. 315.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Education and Workforce Development Cabinet

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