Family Engagement Project Grant from OPSR

Once upon a time, before COVID-19, the library received a most awesome grant from the Oklahoma Partnership for School Readiness to increase our collections and programs for our youngest patrons. Staff was very excited and eagerly began ordering new materials and planning early childhood programs. We were unable to debut the results of the project at the time, but, with the library reopening, we are able to now!

Blackwell Public Library Selected as Family Engagement Project Grantee

OSPR 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 will help them acquire early learning skills. In addition to Blackwell Public Library, 28 other awardees were chosen of 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 infant 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 storytimes for babies and toddlers. These will include rhymes, games, music, and visual tools to communicate with babies and toddlers as well as provide book lists for parents. Lots of awesome new books have been added to our Little Learner’s University area in the children’s library.

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

New storytimes are starting in October. Stay tuned for dates and times!

For additional information, contact our youth library staff at childrens@blackwellok.org or watch the website and Facebook page.