CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 21. . . .January 31, 2014
Community Library Programs That Work: Building Youth and Family Literacy.
Beth Maddigan & Susan Bloos.
Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited (Distributed by the Ontario Library Association Store), 2014.
215 pp., trade pbk. & ebook, $45.00 US (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-61069-263-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-61069-264-9 (ebook).
Libraries and community-Canada-Case studies.
Libraries and community-United States-Case studies.
Family literacy programs-Canada-Case studies.
Family literacy programs-United States-Case studies.
Libraries-Activity programs-Canada-Case studies.
Libraries-Activity programs-United States-Case studies.
Communities-Study and teaching-Activity programs.
Review by Todd Kyle.
Contemporary communities are defined by modern lifestyles: work communities, social communities, school communities, and neighbourhood communities. These communities change more rapidly than those of previous generations. A goal of many libraries, schools, and literacy organizations is to foster opportunities for exchange between community members; especially those that wouldn’t have an opportunity to meet, talk, or share ideas in the normal course of their daily lives. (From the “Introduction.”)
A practical compendium of programs developed by libraries and other community organizations, Community Library Programs That Work takes a very broad view of youth and family literacy by focusing on programs that build community rather than directly focusing on reading or writing skills. Grouped by themes introduced by context setting, each separate program is described in detail and presented with information on its target audience, community connections, outcomes and benefits, supplies and materials budget, marketing and promotion, and information contacts. Some more elaborate programs feature insets describing a scaled-down option. The programs, themselves, were gleaned from various online survey methods, in addition to the authors’ own extensive experience and contacts; the majority of the originating institutions are Canadian, with some American and a smattering of international content.
While not revolutionary, Community Library Programs That Work takes an important step forward in its broad definition of literacy and in its insistence that libraries and other community institutions need to make community connection and engagement as their mission and build partnerships to achieve it. The authors make their case well and base it in both university research and in their extensive years of practice in the field. The program descriptions take a realistic approach, although occasionally some come across as too elaborate or too non-specific to really be easily implemented. Nonetheless, this book is sure to inspire librarians and others to explore new ideas and expand their horizons.
Todd Kyle is the CEO of the Newmarket Public Library in Ontario.
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