Sunday, January 4, 2009

First Bookwagon of 2009

The first bookwagon of 2009. Yay!

Our work in the community has been shifting as the community itself has been undergoing changes. Last fall was a rough time in the neighbourhood. Besides the usual technical troubles...

... we lost about half our numbers when a large portion of the public housing community was torn down. Families relocated elsewhere throughout the city, and we stopped crossing Somerset Street.

You can see that the new route (in red) is significantly shorter.

As well, last fall, we reduced our runs to every other Saturday. We wanted to give time to building a community-run static library. As it turned out, the library hasn't been successful in the short-term, and our reduced wagon schedule appears to have cost us some users.

We talked about this during our last 2008 bookwagon, and again over Christmas. We've decided to go back to doing bookwagon every weekend. We're making the library as user-friendly and self-sustaining as possible, and we still believe in it, but we need to dedicate more hours to keeping and rebuilding our wagon clientele.

Build on success. Find what works. Do more of it.

That's the only way community literacy work can succeed.

* cross posted from qualities ~ communities ~ literacies

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Closed for the Season

I'm not making new posts here for awhile... maybe a long while. QLNB has its own news site, and my other community literacy posting will happen on my Q~C~L blog.

Just FYI


Saturday, August 30, 2008

45,000 Good Reads

Robert Munsch's Stephanie's Ponytail is one of the 45,000 good reads experience by the kids in Crescent Valley, New Brunswick's largest public housing neighbourhood.

"45,000 Good Reads" is the theme of our upcoming 2008 Storytent thanking-funders / media-event.

The number refers to the total number of books read over the past six summers (according to our Summer Reading Club stats) plus the number of books borrowed from the bookwagon over the 200+ trips we've made since December 2003.

The yearly breakdown looks like this:

- 4,000 books recorded read in 2003 Storytent program
- 4,400 books recorded read in 2004 Storytent program
- 5,694 books recorded read in 2005 Storytent program
- 4,882 books recorded read in 2006 Storytent program
- 5023 books recorded read in 2007 Storytent program
- 4,414 books recorded read in 2008 Storytent program
sub total = 28,413
- 17,224 running total from Bookwagon
- 45,637

You might notice the apparent drop-off in Storytent reading in 2008. That's a bit misleading and has a couple of causes.

One was a change in the neighbourhood. NB Housing (the provincial government sub-department responsible for public housing) is rebuilding one portion of the neighbourhood. In the early stages, this involves relocating families and tearing down the old structures. What that meant for us was declining attendance in one Storytent location.

Another cause of reduced numbers was the lowering of the average age of Storytent participants. In past years, we've mostly hosted 6 to 10 year olds, with a lesser number of younger children tagging along. This year, we hosted many more children aged 3 to 7. Kids in the younger range certainly wanted to read or be read to, but they weren't very interested in signing up for Summer Reading Club. Signing up for the SRC is optional, and we don't stress over kids who just want to read. Still, since we use our SRC stats to tally "children signed up" and "books recorded read" each summer, this year's tallies came out smaller than they might have.

Still, our weekly attendances were up over previous years. That is, although we had fewer children joining the SRC, we had more children attending per week right through to the end of the program. I suspect our number of over all participation remained somewhere around 160 - 180 kids.

In particular, two Storytent locations were more than a little busy. At one Coronation tent we recorded 36 children and 4 adults, and saw 30 or more children on three other occasions. Participation at this site never dipped below 11. From my staff notes:

30 kids at Coronation, with the wind picking up later on. I’m exhausted. Glad to see it. Glad to see it end.

By the way, Stephanie's Ponytail and two other Munsch classics, The Paperbag Princess and Mortimer, are easily the most-often read books in Storytent, with Phoebe Gilman's Jillian Jiggs close behind.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Year Six

After a month of uncertainty around funding and partnerships (a dark, discouraging time), we're up and running again with the Quality Storytents program, year six. We finished our fifth "winter" of bookwagon. I don't have all the numbers put together yet, but I expect to see the total books borrowed increase by another 3000 books.

Changes in the public housing neighbourhood have meant a reduction in users: the province is taking down about twenty buildings, relocating 70 or 80 families, in preparation for redesigning and rebuilding several courts.

Meanwhile, Cheryl and I have been writing (old school pen and paper, then off to the editor stuff) and working with another community group that wants us to help them create a static library for the community. They have also given us space to run an alternative adult literacy program.

As well, we've had the chance to offer two communities a storytent orientation. It looks like there will be storytent programs running in six other New Brunswick communities this summer.

All of which may go to explain, just a little, why there's been no posting here for awhile.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

I'd Like to thank the Academy...

Yay for us!

Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Early Childhood Literacy Award

Our Quality Storytents program was recognized this year with a Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Early Childhood Literacy Award.

Wendell Dryden Kate Wright Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Early Childhood Literacy Award

(Yes, that's me up there... needing a haircut, ill-dressed and intensely uncomfortable. Our org's VP and fellow wagon-wrangler Kate Wright was also on hand.)

Hon. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell, M.D., Senator

The Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Early Childhood Literacy awards recognize women and men throughout the province who make an outstanding contribution to the lives of young children through literacy. This is a province-wide award administered by our two literacy coalitions, continuing a tradition begun by the Honourable Marilyn Trenholme Counsell when she served as Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick.

There's a bit more about the award on the QLNB News site here.

This is the second time our work has been recognized in this way: in 2006 the Saint John Free Public Library won in the "Library Category" for our Bookwagon program. (Which looks like this...)

Thanks everybody! (You know who you are.)

Kate and Nate

Thursday, May 1, 2008

In Other News...

The library held a fund-raiser for us featuring some bar band from Ontario, and Alison crafted a couple of Storytent mugs with a design I'm slowly morphing into a logo for the band... er, organization QLNB.