Thursday, December 12, 2019

Library Laundries in Napa

Wash the clothes, read a book: Library laundries come to Napa

A handful of local laundromats are now offering something extra to go along with the spin and dry cycles.
Books. Library books.
The library has come to the laundromat.
Thanks to a California Library Literacy Services Family Literacy grant, the Napa library has installed children’s “libraries” inside two Napa laundromats. And more library laundries are on the way.
“It’s the perfect place” to promote reading, said Robin Rafael, literacy and volunteer services supervisor at the Napa County Library.
“In many ways, the laundromat is a perfect place to provide families access to library books: going to the laundromat is part of a family’s regular weekly routine; parents have time to give children their undivided attention; laundromats are an unintimidating place for children to develop their early literacy skills, and laundromats are often open 24 hours a day,” she wrote in an email.
“It gets children and parents reading,” — another choice besides handing a child a cell phone to watch videos or play games.”
“It’s also a good way to reach out to Napans who may not be familiar with the library and its many programs and offerings.
“Also, most people stay within their own neighborhoods to do laundry so it’s a great way to encourage literacy within the local community,” said Rafael.
The books are set out by library staffers. More than 50 new and used children’s books have been placed at the two laundromats. The books don’t have library bar codes and aren’t meant to be checked out. They are meant to be used and read inside the laundromat.
Rafael said the library hasn’t had a problem with too many of the books disappearing.
“We encourage people to leave them at the laundromat,” she said.
There’s no cost or obligation to the business owners, said Rafael. She’s signed up two laundromats, both called Mi Familia Lavanderia, but a few others plan to join the program.
“We do all the work,” she said. “We set up the book racks. We come in and replenish the books.”
Eric Obranovich, vice president of operations at the Mi Familia organization, said that after hearing about the idea from the library, he agreed to join the program.
“It’s going real good,” said Obranovich. “As we are doing our daily tasks we see family members reading to their kids. It’s neat.”
Would he recommend the program to other business owners? “Absolutely,” he said.
“It’s good for the community. A lot of families come and do laundry together,” he said. Instead of looking at cellphones, “a story gets everybody together.”
Bob Micktavish is the new owner of Spin Cycle Wash & Dry at 2233 Brown St. He’s about to add library books at his business.
Micktavish already offers some toys and other items for kids to play with but “I think (books) would be a good thing for the laundromat,” he said.
He likes that the program is organized by the library.
“They will be proactive about what they put in there. I like partnering up with that instead of somebody who’s trying to sell books.”
“My intent with this is for the kids to read and have fun. And keep them from riding in my laundry carts,” he said with a laugh.
“We have five children and reading was a big thing for them,” Micktavish said. “I think a lot of people have gone away from that.
Many times when he visits the laundromat, he sees kids playing on their parents’ phones.
“That’s not going to end” unless you set up a library laundry, he said.
Micktavish even plans to remove an extra portable table to make room for a reading area. “I’m going to open up that area. I want to make it comfortable and inviting.”
A fourth Napa laundromat, Limpio Laundromat at 303 Post St., also plans to start a library laundry, said Rafael.
Offering library books outside the library isn’t a new idea. The Napa County Library currently has a bike branch that can be seen at local gatherings and books at OLE Health and WIC offices and other county buildings.

Over $4,000 granted to local nonprofit to support literacy for Flint families

FLINT, Michigan—Storytime isn’t just for kids. The Community Foundation of Greater Flint awarded over $4,320 to The Flint Club’s “Books Change Lives” program where books, bookshelves, and community literacy programming are provided to engage both parents and their children in raising Flint literacy rates.

The Flint Club, a local nonprofit, was founded in 2001 to unite Flint Central Alumni under the common cause of community volunteering. It since has grown to include supporting literacy for low- to moderate-income families.

Kids follow the example of their parents — if they see their parents reading, it will help them be enthusiastic about it too,” says Dayne Walling, founder of The Flint Club. (See Imitate Reading Initiative)

Though The Flint Club was announced the recipient of the grant funds Oct. 4, the initiative started in the beginning of 2018 as a piloted partnership with Totem Books and Habitat of Humanity of Genesee County. Together, the organizations gave families living in a Habitat house a bookshelf full of books, supporting the literacy of the family. That was just the beginning.

Families are also invited to Totem Books the first Saturday of every month for a couple of hours of family storytime where books are read out loud followed by art projects and snacks.

“This grant will allow this program to bring literacy assistance to dozens of students and their families in Flint,” says FaLessia Booker, literacy program coordinator for The Flint Club. “By engaging parents and caring adults, we help students to be successful not just while participating in the program, but also when they return home.”

For more information or to donate to The Flint Club visit their website.

Forbes Correlates Literacy and Workforce Readiness

An alarm sounded last week when results from the Nation’s Report Card showed faltering reading levels for America’s young people. The release from the National Association of Educational Progress (NAEP) revealed a decrease in student achievement in 17 states in fourth grade reading and 31 states in eighth grade reading in the last two years. With all of the “breaking news” in our day to day lives, this headline is worthy of real reflection. Our students and our schools need and deserve our help. 
Beyond just the common sense nature of needing to be able to read and write well, according to the 2016 Why Reading Mattersreport from Business Roundtable, “93 percent of CEOs rated reading and writing as very or somewhat important for current job openings in their companies, and 42 percent of CEOs reported problems in finding qualified applicants with strong enough skills in those areas.” On top of that, the Georgetown Public Policy Institute reports that we will have 55 million job openings in the economy throughout 2020. Sixty-five percent of them will require a postsecondary education and training beyond high school and the fastest growing occupations (health care, community services and STEM) have the highest demand. How will we possibly be able to meet our workforce needs if our young people continue to struggle to read at a proficient level? 
I am proud that organizations representing education and civil rights communities have quickly come together to address this alarming news. This week, more than ten leading education groups have issued an urgent call to action to focus on five critical areas:

  • Embracing the science of reading – Instruction in early reading, in particular, has the most solid research behind it of anything in education. We know what works, now let’s make sure it’s in practice in every school and classroom.
  • Pushing for use of high-quality, standards- aligned curriculum – States like Mississippi, which had positive NAEP reading results, illustrate what’s possible when reading strategies are implemented patiently and effectively.
  • Advancing the capacity of teachers in teaching literacy by way of teacher preparation programs – A 2018 report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a nonprofit organization that prioritizes teacher effectiveness, found that only 37% of elementary and special education teacher preparation programs included evidence-based methods of reading instruction.
  • Assisting non-profits, business and community leaders in their efforts to strengthen reading strategies for their students – Equipping parents with resources and best practice so that they can become effective partners in this work.  (Emphasis mine)
  • Increasing the federal investment in literacy for local and state evidenced-based, comprehensive literacy efforts – While primary responsibility for teaching children to read and write lies at the state and local level, this national challenge warrants federal support.
It is encouraging that movement is already underway by state education leaders to focus attention on this area. For example, the Council of Chief State School Officers announced that in early 2020, they will hold a “Literacy Summit” with national and state leaders to focus on the actual policies and programs that are needed to answer that call to action.  

As individual organizations, we’ve all developed respective agendas that place student achievement and equity at the core of our work. Together, we are calling on everyone with a stake in the future workforce to join us — and the thousands of educators who do this work every day — in making reading and literacy a national priority. Our future workforce depends on this foundation—and our students deserve the best shot at success.  
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I am the executive director of the Collaborative for Student Success, a non-profit organization that defends high standards, high-quality assessments and strong systems ...

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