Monday, April 09, 2007


The Orange Public Libraries have won an important grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Ac administered by the Massachusetts State Library.
The library has received a $10,000.00 federal IMLS/LSTA grant that will be available for two years The $20,000.00 will be used to share the joy and importance of encouraging early childhood literacy while fostering family literacy as well. Funds will be used to add circulating early childhood, parenting/childcare, and adult literacy materials to the collection. The grant will also finance two years of activities targeting children from birth through four years of age, their parents and care-givers. Nationally known, Parent's Choice Award winning musician, Lui Collins, just completed an eight part series of workshops encouraging parents and children to explore music and movement which provides recognized links to language development and reading readiness. A second series just began with Cynthia Leblanc illustrating the fun of good nutritional choices through stories, songs, and hands-on activities. The American Library Association's Ready to Read at Your Library Program has also been introduced to day care providers by staff member Diane Salcedo. Through these three series the grant has already reached
86 children and adults with most of them returning to the library at least 4 times. Since 6 repetions is the common standard for integrating an activity into a schedule, this grant is well on its way to making the Orange libraries an integral part of many young people's lives.
Still to come this spring is Sarah Pirtle with a 4 part Tuesday series open to afternoon and evening attendance. As with the content of the previous workshops, the material presented will be much more effective because it is covered in a series instead of in a single event. Without this grant it would be very difficult for the Orange Libraries to afford such a program with a performer who has won 9 national awards for her books and musical CD's. Sarah's gentle ways are contagious. She can take issues important to children and those who love them, and express them in songs that resonate with both the children and the adults. In this way Sarah gives children and adults a common language to use when discussing complex ideas. Words matter. Research has shown that speaking and singing with children will help them develop both language and reading skills.
Baby massage taught by Deborah Young, certified massage therapist, will be the last spring workshop series funded by the grant (call 978-544-2495, ext.103 to register). With this series the grant will help the library reach parents and care givers of the communitiies youngest children, providing a very early start for forming a "library habit." While they are at the library, the attendees of this workshop will see the broad range of materials available to encourage literacy at the earliest age. Indeed, with the help of the grant, the Orange libraries will be expanding their collection of board books, mixed media kits, literature based movies, child developement information, and adult literacy materials. The Orange Libraries are very thankful for the programming and materials that this grant will continue to fund over the next year-and-a- half.
PHOTO CAPTION: Recent "graduates" of Move to the Music Class taught by Lui Collins at the Wheeler Memorial Library in Orange. From left to right. Front row : Robin Alexander, Hailey Alexander, Cassandra True, Jennifer True, Saydie True, Mason, Michelle Bezio. Back row: Morgan Barnes, Connor Fuller, Courtney Fuller, Shawn Vaillancourt, Jewelianna Vaillancourt, Heather Barnes, Lui Collins.

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