Volume 26, Number 4, Winter 2004

State Library and Archives of Florida: A Leader in Early Literacy Activties

by Carole Fiore, State Library and Archives of Florida

Ever since the State Library and Archives of Florida adopted ALSC’s Born to Read initiative as a statewide program in 1997, public libraries throughout Florida have looked to this agency for leadership in early literacy activities. In addition to providing LSTA funding for libraries to establish early literacy programs in many areas of the state, the State Library and Archives of Florida has partnered with many other youth-serving agencies to show the importance of libraries in child development.

When United Way of Florida and Publix Charities designed a public awareness campaign titled Feed Me A Story, the State Library and Archives played an integral part in this project, from helping to select age- and developmentally-appropriate titles for inclusion on bibliographies to getting public libraries involved. When many agencies worked together on the Florida Starting Points Initiative, a grant-funded project of the Carnegie Corporation, the State Library and Archives was involved. The State Library and Archives helped disseminate the “brain training” that this project developed by providing various training opportunities for library staff and staff in partner agencies. Through participating in the work of this initiative, the State Library and Archives and public libraries have become recognized throughout the state as contributors to early childhood development. As a library development consultant, I am currently traveling the state presenting workshops to expand the knowledge and skills of library staff and staff of other child-serving agencies. By the end of 2004, I will have presented these full-day Beyond Mother Goose: Turning Emergent Literacy Theory into Practice workshops in all six multi-type library cooperative areas, reaching close to three hundred staff statewide. After I present information about brain development and demonstrate how literacy activities enhance this development, workshop participants have the opportunity to put their learning into practice with a hands-on segment. Due to the popularity of the workshops and demand to train other staff, six additional workshops are being scheduled for spring 2005. Carole Fiore is a member of ASCLA and past-president of ALSC. Contact her at cfiore@dos.state.fl.us.