Assistant Commissioner for Libraries and State Librarian Bernard A. Margolis announced that the federal Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded a $48,577 Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Collaborative Planning Grant to the New York State Library. The grant, covering the period from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015,will support the development of a comprehensive statewide early literacy training plan that will enhance and improve the quality of public library early literacy and early learning programs. The resulting training plan will be an integral component of New York’s new statewide early literacy program Ready to Read at New York Libraries.

The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program supports projects to recruit and educate the next generation of librarians, faculty, and library leaders; and to support early career research. It also assists in the professional development of librarians and library staff.

“As the information needs of Americans have evolved, so has the work of American libraries and librarians,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth. “The Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program helps address these needs by supporting the professional development and education of a new generation of librarians.” State Librarian Bernie Margolis said, “This $48,577 grant from IMLS will be instrumental in supporting the State Library’s planning work with an Advisory Group of early literacy experts and with numerous local, state and national partners.” “The result of this year-long collaborative planning effort will be a sustainable and comprehensive statewide training plan for New York’s public library staff.”said Grant Project Director Karen Balsen, Library Development Specialist, New York State Library.

The planned training will provide public library staff with skills and knowledge in areas such as community assessment, creation of library early learning environments, effective outreach strategies and the delivery of quality parent/caregiver education for diverse audiences. Parent/caregiver education will focus on reading readiness, but will also include science and math (STEM).

The plan will also include targeted outreach strategies to assist public libraries in reaching high-risk populations such as residents of high need school districts, minorities, immigrants and the rural poor. Effective evaluation design will inform the quality and practicality of the plan, and provide solid evidence of a change in the skills and knowledge of library staff and families participating in the training.

Implementation of the training plan will be ongoing and will provide local libraries with access to training, as well as to resources and materials that will strengthen the library’s role as a vital community hub for early learning and as a key community partner in serving parents, caregivers and young children.

More information about Ready to Read at New York Libraries and this planning grant project is available at or by contacting Grant Project Director Karen Balsen at .