- LSTA Grant #40-8279
- Original Application, Final Narrative
- El Dorado County Library
- Debbie Arenas, Early Childhood Literacy Specialist
- CopyCat grant maximum funding: $12,000
Description: Part of a larger early literacy outreach effort, Learning2Go literacy kits were designed and created for circulation among daycare providers and other early childhood education providers with limited resources to create a literacy-rich environment for their children. Each portable, circulating kit contains books and manipulatives with a common theme that can be used in various settings including, but not limited to, storytimes. Library staff members take kits to partner organizations, workshops, storytimes and other community gatherings to demonstrate their use.
Purpose: Learning2Go literacy kits were created to bring early literacy resources out of the library and into the community. The goal was to provide home-schooled, childcare providers, preschools, and library staff with the tools to make a difference in early childhood education, and to make it easy for providers to do so on a limited budget, with limited staffing, and minimal access to training.
The Learning2Go literacy kit’s aim is to increase literacy and pre-literacy skills in the community through the use of developmentally appropriate literature, manipulatives, educational toys, and activities, as well as to aid in creating a learning environment in which children are entertained, engaged, and excited to learn.
Target Audience: Daycare providers, homeschoolers, and early childhood education providers, particularly those without the resources (whether knowledge or financial) to create literacy-rich environment for the children for whom they care.
Expected Outcomes: Providers will have a broader understanding of the importance of exposing children to literacy materials and activities, and with greater access to materials circulated by the library, the children who are cared for by these providers will gain literacy and pre-literacy skills.
Partnerships: Spreading the word about the availability of literacy kits requires strong communication and cooperation with community partners. Daycare providers, preschools, community organizations serving young children and their caregivers, community event organizers, and other organizations serving families in the library service area are all important allies as the library brings resources to children and their caregivers. Visit the Copycat Grant Toolkits partners page for tips on working with partners.
- Books, materials, and containers
- Marketing materials
- The maximum funding level is set for a scaled-down project for creation of literacy kits, not for all the elements of the original project.
The Learning2Go Materials Prices document lists approximate costs of each kit and will be useful in developing your budget.
- Purchase materials
After deciding which kits on the Learning2Go website you will be making, purchase materials needed to assemble them. Sample: Learning2Go Materials and Prices (prices may have changed).
- Assemble Kits
The Learning2Go website provides all the information needed to create literacy kits with a variety of themes. In addition to lists of materials with hyperlinks to vendors, there are labels that can be altered to feature your library's information; tables of contents for kit users and library staff; and lists of picture books contained in the kits. Creating Learning2Go literacy kits is a flexible process, and can be tailored to fit your library's community needs, budget, collection, and staff availability.
- Determine circulation policies
- How will kits be checked out and by whom? El Dorado County Library (EDC Library) circulates kits to providers only, although anyone can use kits in the library
- What will the check-out period be?
- Will you hold childcare providers accountable for lost or damaged items or consider it the cost of doing business?
Circulation increases each time the EDC Library shares kits at a workshop or brings one along to an outreach event. Because EDC Library does not store kits in a visible location to the public, advertising is key to publicizing this library service to caregivers. Example: Early Learning Kits Brochure (pdf format) Visit the Copycat Grant Toolkits marketing page for more tips.
- Take kits to storytimes at daycares
- Demonstrate kits at preschools and parent groups
- Bring kits to community gatherings, fairs, festivals
- Visit human service organizations serving children and families
- Recording and sharing a video to the library's website, to social media, and in communication with community organizations about the kits and how they are used with children is a great way to advertise to potential borrowers. Example: https://www.youtube.com/user/ELF2Libraries/videos
EDC Library learned some kits circulate more than others, and it is recommended that kits' names be interesting and intriguing. For example, a "fine motor kit" might not circulate as well as a "Busy Fingers" kit might.
Survey your partners to capture information about their increased knowledge of the importance of literacy activities in caring for children. Survey parents about changes in their activities at home as a result of your demonstrations. Visit the outcomes page for tips.