ILA Best Practices

Family Literacy is a Community Concern

Posted on: December 22, 2008

The Family Reading Night program sponsored by the Illinois State Library is really intended for public libraries. Our community college does not, properly speaking, have any patrons who are children. However, our student and staff patrons have families. So about five years ago we began to participate in the Family Reading Night program with the intention of giving a boost to family literacy in the community.

We began small, with just a story time presented by a professional storyteller. Soon we came up with the idea of involving our Children’s Literature class, since the students in there are mostly intending to be teachers or child-care professionals. This program is now incorporated into the Children’s Literature syllabus, with the students planning for and presenting a different program in conjunction with our storytelling. We have expanded to holding a program in the spring as well as in the fall when Family Reading Night occurs.

Although it is not ordinarily part of the mission of a community college library to put on children’s programs, we feel that fostering the literacy skills of our current and future students is very much within our mission. Submitted by Jan Zuke, Southwestern Illinois College, Sam Wolf Granite City Campus, Granite City, IL

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