Federal Librarian Spring 2010

Born to Read preschool programming explodes with enthusiasm 
…and attendance @Eielson AFB Library, Alaska

During the long, dark and often -40 temperatures of winter, Eielson AFB Library, Alaska continues to draw preschoolers and parents to their weekly “Born to Read” program.  The “Born to Read” preschool program is in line with the Air Force Library’s mission and demanded by both 5 Star and Golden Eagle Standards.  This program exceeds those standards providing educational and socialization opportunities for both preschoolers and parents.
Located in the family housing area of base, the 200% growth of the program this year is due, in large part, to the efforts of military moms.  These dedicated mothers have reached out to pull in others in creating a program so that not just one busy mom is responsible for the total program.  Moms have established a calendar of volunteers who rotate weekly planning and presentation of library stories, songs, and crafts that are geared around a kid-centered theme.  
Changing the program to year round from nine months has helped to increase participation.  In addition, inviting guest readers has greatly increased interest.  MSG Commander Colonel Carlton Johnson has asked that he be a guest reader at least monthly and has been a big hit with listeners.  
Other program areas on base have also become involved.  The Eielson Marketing department has obtained a $500 sponsorship from a local business, which provides updated craft materials for the “Born to Read” program.
Considering that Eielson is an Air Force base where families serve 3- or 4-year tours, time is short in which to get to know one another and become involved with other military parents. Attendees in the program appreciate the opportunity for their children to learn and socialize as well as parents’ own opportunity to network/socialize with other base families.  Each week, Library staff provides a basket full of informative fiction and nonfiction books, cd’s, and Playaways for the busy parents with compressed schedules while their children enjoy the programming with the option to check out the titles to take home.  
After attending the “Born to Read” program, the fun often continues as preschoolers and parents attend activities in the play area of the Community Center located in the same building.  One stop service for Air Force Families in this Arctic region of the world!

Submitted by Marcia Lee
Eielson AFB Supervisory Librarian