Through my association with Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy, I had a chance to become involved with an awesome IMLS grant proposal & we just heard that it was funded! We will be creating coursework and internships for MLIS students to provide an “Early Childhood Librarian” focus as they pursue their degree. I am one of two public librarians serving as advisors to this project!
Here’s the announcement:
The University of Denver Library and Information Science Program (Mary Stansbury, PI) in formal partnership with Arapahoe Library District (CO), Colorado State Library, Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy, and Douglas County Libraries (CO) applied for funds to support a limited number of scholarships to be awarded to MLIS students interested in becoming Early Childhood Librarians.
The time frame for this project is July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2012. The community need addressed by this project is the demand for more public librarians to help very young children acquire early literacy skills. The primary goal of this project is to increase the number of Master’s in Library & Information Science (MLIS)-degreed librarians who are prepared to serve the early literacy needs of very young children (0-5 years), caregivers, families, educators, and community coalitions in Colorado.
This goal will be achieved with funding support for 10 student fellowships for completion of the DU MLIS using experiential learning in at least five partner public libraries and at least five early childhood education centers , and, an interdisciplinary curriculum including LIS coursework and Child, Family, and School Psychology (CFSP) coursework in brain development, language acquisition, and, special needs. Early literacy skills improve learning achievement and enhance the joy of reading, yet, many young children are disadvantaged in acquiring these skills. Furthermore, most (MLIS) programs in the U.S. provide only one or two courses in early childhood library services. This project is designed to provide fellowship recipients with extensive coursework and direct experiences in the settings most pertinent to early childhood literacy. The coursework has been chosen to include classes in brain research and child development in order to better understand some of the principles behind framework such as Every Child Ready to Read©. MLIS fellows will be placed in public libraries and preschools, with an emphasis on diversity of programs and populations. Fellows will also take conversational Spanish, as Colorado and other states have a significant percentage of Spanish speaking residents.
A secondary goal is to increase the knowledge and skills of public librarians, early childhood educators, families, and, caregivers in order to encourage the development of young children’s early literacy skills. This goal will be achieved through the development of guidelines and training programs by the PI, Co-PIs, Consultants, Internal Planning Team, External Planning Team, and the Fellows. These guidelines will be incorporated into instructional sessions for the targeted groups. The strengths of this project include the highly critical need for early childhood librarians, the unique configuration of partners, and, the experiential learning component.