NEW ORLEANS - PRIME TIME Inc., an affiliate of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH), in cooperation with the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, selected public libraries in Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Michigan to participate in the national expansion of the LEH’s award-winning family reading and discussion program, PRIME TIME FAMILY READING TIME®. National expansion of PRIME TIME is made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which also supported earlier grants for implementation in Louisiana and initial national expansion.
In Arizona, the Arizona Humanities Council will direct the partnership with the Pima County Public Library system. In Georgia, the Georgia Public Library Service will direct the partnership with the public libraries. In Florida and Michigan, the Florida Humanities Council and the Michigan Humanities Council, respectively, will direct the partnership with the public libraries. A total of four states– representing 16 community libraries – were chosen to participate.
The four states selected (four libraries each) are:
- Arizona – Valencia Branch Library, Quincie Douglas Branch Library, Southwest Branch Library and Mission Branch Library. All sites are located in Tucson.
- Florida – North Lauderdale Library, North Lauderdale; Selby Library, Sarasota; Blake Library, Stuart; and Seminole Tribe-Diane Yzaguirre Memorial Library, Immokalee.
- Georgia – Dogwood Branch, Atlanta; Chamblee Branch, Decatur; Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County Library, Fiztgerald; and Lilburn Branch, Lawrenceville.
- Michigan – Hackley Public Library, Muskegon; Peter White Public Library, Marquette; Highland Twp. Public Library, Highland; and Hamtramck Public Library, Hamtramck.
Based on illustrated children's books, PRIME TIME—now in its 19th year-- is designed to help low-income, low-literate families bond around the act of reading and talking about books. It models and encourages family reading and discussion of humanities topics and aids parents and children in selecting books and becoming active public library users. PRIME TIME received the 2003 Advancement of Literacy Award from the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the ALA, and the Coming Up Taller Award from the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in 2000. Nearly 1,000 PRIME TIME programs in 38 states have been completed, graduating more than 36,000 children and their parents/guardians.
Selected states will receive grant funding and materials to work with library staff to present the PRIME TIME series at participating library sites. Each series will meet once a week for six weeks at participating libraries. Common Ground, PRIME TIME’s newest syllabus, offers a proven vehicle for libraries to engage a multicultural audience including non-English speakers. Through a discussion leader and a storyteller, children ages 6 to 10 years and their parents or guardians will hear classic children's stories; watch reading aloud demonstrations; discuss humanities themes in each book; and learn about library resources and services. Translators will be available where bilingual or multilingual audiences will be recruited. Younger siblings, ages 3 to 5 years, will participate in separate pre-reading activities.
PRIME TIME is based on a successful series of the same name that was created by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities in 1991 at the East Baton Rouge (La.) Parish Library and has spread nationally with funding from NEH.
The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, the Great Stories CLUB, Live! @ your library and more. Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed www.programminglibrarian.org, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. For more information on the ALA Public Programs Office, visit www.ala.org/publicprograms.