At JCPL, we're passionate about early literacy. We believe it's a critical skill that helps children from birth to five establish a solid foundation in life. It sets the stage for their future success, and it contributes to the economic growth and development of our county as a whole. Sadly, in some Jefferson County schools, fewer than 50 percent of children entering kindergarten have the skills they need to be ready to read.
We want to change that!
The Library is uniquely positioned to support early literacy. Our storytimes, based on Every Child Ready to Read, incorporate simple practices to help parents and other caregivers develop early literacy skills in our youngest residents. They are wildly popular, with demand and participation growing every year. In fact, in 2013, we presented more than 3,300 storytimes to nearly 89,000 participants.
Unfortunately, in this era of shrinking resources, we find ourselves nearly maxed out in the number of storytimes we can offer at our libraries. With our current hours of operation, we're hard pressed to meet the ever-growing demand for these services during library hours.
However, as they say, "where there's a will, there's a way."
I'm pleased to announce that we've found a way to extend our early literacy storytimes, through an innovative partnership with Jefferson County’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and the Triad Early Childhood Council. Beginning this year, JCPL will support CCAP and TRIAD in their efforts to increase access to high-quality child care for infants and toddlers from families with low income. In its initial stages, the program will provide 19 Jefferson County child-care facilities with materials, resources, coaching and professional development to support high-quality services. We're supporting this effort by presenting early literacy storytimes at these facilities and by offering coaching, materials and other early literacy resources to staff, parents and caregivers.
At JCPL, we believe every child should have a solid start in life. Now, thanks to TRIAD and CCAP, we can help more children realize that dream.