One of the most rewarding parts of working in children's services in a public library is the opportunity to collaborate with other local agencies or businesses to promote a child's love of reading. The past few months have been especially busy with this type of cooperative activity.
In both January and March we were able to pair with Scotchtown Avenue Elementary School to introduce first graders to the delights of the public library. In January our staff visited every first grade class in the school library to talk up the public library and to distribute the library card applications. The completed library cards were then handed out to the child at the school and "goodie" bags were given the first time the child used the card here at the library. Over 75 cards were processed, and about 50 bags were distributed so far.
Our contact with the first graders continued as a visit for each class was arranged by the first grade teacher during the month of March; this was a tie-in with the school's parents as Reading Partners" month. The children were able to tour the library with special presentations in the technical services area by Joann Bast and our local history museum by Ann Roche. Despite the crowded conditions here at the library, a good time was had by all.
The month of April saw another grade level visiting the library. Fifth grade teachers arranged for two groups of students to participate in the library's celebration of National Poetry Month by bussing them down after school to hear a presentation by Janet Hamill, our staff poet, and to celebrate the joy of sharing poetry aloud. It was a chance for even shy kids to perform for their fellow students in a relaxed and open atmosphere.
Goshen's local business community has begun to take an interest in partnering with the library also. While, in the past, our efforts have been mostly toward asking for donations to use as summer reading prizes, recently Jennifer Napolitano, Assistant Branch Manager of Fleet Bank, approached us about doing a joint promotion, and the result is "Books and Blooms," a program which rewards reading with a container of live flowers. Children may stop into the library, pick up a coloring sheet on which they must list a book they have read, then trade the paper "bloom" for live ones at the bank. Each entrant will also be eligible for a drawing for a $25 American Express Gift Check. This program will continue until Mother's Day. We here at the library are thrilled to participate in any project which encourages children to read, and we also see it as a great way to show kids that the whole community supports reading. Fleet Bank has also agreed to offer incentives for our "Discover 2000 Read" Summer Reading Club.
We would like to thank all those who participated in these joint projects and to encourage other groups to initiate future cooperative endeavors. All of us working together will ensure the children of Goshen become life-long readers.