Blackwell Public Library selected as Family Engagement Project Grantee

early literacy the fun way - point out words and letters - rhyme time - read to your child - be a good reading model - play word games

OPSR funds 29 libraries to expand infant and toddler resources

Blackwell Public Library has been selected as one of the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness’ (OPSR) Public Library Family Engagement Project grantees. This project will help fund Little Learners’ University that promotes reading programs for babies & toddlers that help them acquire early learning skills. In addition to Blackwell Public Library, 28 other awardees were chosen by OPSR as grantees.

“We are tremendously excited to have been chosen to participate in this project,” said Lisa Vargas, Library Director.  “Ms. Jessica and Ms. Tina have been working hard to get everything ready for classes and have resources accessible to children and families.  This grant is allowing us to expand services to our youngest customers and their adults!”

Library services are crucial to help young children develop language skills. In fact, brain research has shown that talking, singing and reading can have a positive impact on early speech and language. The Public Library Family Engagement Project’s goal is to equip families with knowledge and offer an early introduction to literature and technology to infants and toddlers.

“OPSR is proud to work with Blackwell Public Library to support stimulating early literacy opportunities for infants and toddlers,” said Debra Andersen, OPSR executive director. “This project wouldn’t have been possible without our partners the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA). Thanks to the federal Preschool Development Grant Birth Through Five, we’re grateful to be able to support libraries across the state and families who are passionate about enriching the lives of their children.”

Libraries selected to participate in this project will expand on existing programs or implement a new one, including OETA’s Ready to Learn, and Read, Sing, Play. All of which create a positive learning environment, inform families of the importance of reading and promote life-long literacy.

Blackwell Public Library is excited to expand the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program as well as add story times for babies and toddlers.  These programs will includes rhymes, games, music, and visual tools to communicate with babies and toddlers as well as provides book lists for parents.  Lots of awesome new books have been added to our Little Learners’ University area in the children’s library!

Library staff members have created “Story Sacks” for checkout.  Each sack contains a book and a variety of fun and engaging learning activities emphasizing early learning skills for kids and their adults to do together.  Activities encourage Reading, Playing, Singing, Talking, and Writing while having fun!

New story times will begin after spring break.  Babies ages 0-18 months will be excited to attend “Little Learners” time.  Toddlers ages 2-3 years are “The Young and the Restless”.  “Raising Readers” will continue for pre-K kids.  Watch for our announcement coming soon!

For additional information or questions, contact, call the library at 580.363.1809, check out our website,, or our Facebook page.

About Blackwell Public Library

Blackwell Public Library began as a reading room in 1905, was chartered in 1917 and declared a public library in 1921.  Its mission is to provide quality materials and educational services which fulfill informational, cultural, and recreational needs of the entire community in an atmosphere that is welcoming, respectful, and businesslike and to support a lifetime of education and stay responsive to the changing information needs of the community while linking to resources available globally.  In the past few years, the library has stayed focused on the needs of children and families.

About Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness

In 2003, House Bill 1094 created the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness (OPSR) and added Oklahoma to a growing list of states that recognized more action is required to successfully support families and children from birth to preschool — thus improving school readiness. Together, through both public and private partnerships, we work to help children arrive at school with the knowledge, skills and physical and emotional health to achieve their dreams. Today, our mission is to lead Oklahoma in coordinating an early childhood system that strengthens families and ensures all children are ready for school. For more information, visit

About OKFutures (Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five)

The Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness was awarded over $3 million dollars from the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education via the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five, now known as OKFutures. This one-year grant is focused on improving the coordination and quality of existing early childhood services as well as increasing families’ knowledge and capacity to support their children, from birth to five-years-old. To learn more about this grant’s activities, visit  

Disclaimer: Funding for this project was made possible by OKFutures, a grant known as the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five, Grant No. 90TP0037. This grant was awarded to the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services & Education and is administered by the Administration for Children and Families. This press release is solely the responsibility of its authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Child Care, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.