Tuesday, April 27, 2010

PaLA Best Practices/Early Learning Forum: Part I

Two weeks ago, I headed east on the turnpike to attend the annual PaLA Early Learning Forum and Best Practices Awards Luncheon.  It was an event not to be missed this year - 3 of our libraries were winners!
  • Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for the creation of several brochure-hand-outs for parents: the first, a 'four color, 60-inch growth chart that lists appropriate skills from birth to 36 months, with room to chart favorite books; the second, Mother Goose Rhyme Packets with 2 each for infants, toddlers and preschoolers that reinforce nursery rhymes children hear at storytime; and lastly, a series of cards suggesting activities that promote PA Early Learning Standards.  If you're nearby a CLP branch, check them out - they're really stunning!  This is a perfect example of a tool that encourages parents to continue reading with their children at home!  Here they are, accepting their award:

  • Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (specifically Caralee Sommerer!) for a One Book Every Young Child program, parterning with the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children, the Council of Three Rivers Indian Center, Pennsylvania Early Learning Keys to Equality, students from Pitt and Duquesne and volunteers from Kohl's.  The program was a 2-hour Saturday morning event with a series of learning stations.  Memory games, crafts and a penguin egg relay kept the children busy!  Elvis the pengquin (from the Aviary) visited along with Pittsburgh Steelers, Trai Essex and Darnell Stapleton who read to the children.  They saw 120 people at the event!  Here they are, accepting their award:

  • Shaler North Hills Library (specifically Karen Hathaway) for a program called Discovery Kids where Karen borrowed show-and-tell materials like fossils, antlers, bones and birds-eggs from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, through their Educational Loan Program.  She designed a reading program around those resources using nonfiction picture books.  Each program included a storytime, and a lab and a related fiction book.  Each week, the library saw 32 children at the program and they've increased circulation for their non-fiction collection! 
Shaler was also the recipient of the enviable David J Roberts EXCEL Library Service Award, a kind of 'best of the best practices' award.  Woohoo!  I was lucky to catch them announcing the award, which is a surprise left to the end of the day.  Turn up the volume and watch Ing, Karen, Sharon and Joy have their socks knocked off!

Congratulations to some amazing librarians for your incredible ideas and programs!  If you're able to take a day from your busy jobs next spring, I highly recommend heading to Harrisburg for this event!