Tag Archives: literacy

You’ve got a Friend in Me: Reading Buddies at the Library

This summer, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh launched a brand-new volunteer program called Reading Buddies. The program was developed out of an initiative called Hazelwood Reads Together, and here’s the gist: trained volunteers are stationed in the library to read to and interact with kids, one on one or in small groups.

We know that kids succeed when they read, and that having a caring mentor doing the reading can be a big part of helping children develop a long-lasting love of books and reading. What we were also happy to discover is that volunteers love the experience, too.

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Reading together at CLP – Hazelwood

One volunteer, Maddie, explains it like this: “I decided to become a Reading Buddies volunteer because I was working full time at a job that I was getting nothing out of … I decided to check out the library’s website and see if any volunteer opportunities were available. I saw the Reading Buddies post and was instantly drawn to it. I have always loved working with kids and I knew I would be a good fit. It became the highlight of my work weeks. My day would go faster knowing I was going to leave work and do something I actually enjoyed while giving back at the same time.”

Another volunteer, Sally, agrees: “The kids love to read, create puzzles and create stories … It’s nice to give all of the kids attention that takes them away from the computers.  The kids are appreciative of the time and I appreciate the opportunity to engage with them in a fun, relaxed way. Reading Buddies is enjoyable for everyone. ”

Besides having the opportunity to give back by encouraging youth literacy, volunteering to read with kids helped some volunteers reflect on mentors who played a role in their own learning.

“My fourth grade teacher used to read my class a chapter of a book at the end of each day. He almost always picked one of Roald Dahl‘s books,” Maddie remembers. “I was always a pretty big reader, but when I started hearing these stories I was hooked. I still think of that teacher today when I see someone reading a Dahl book or see the old copies on my book shelf. I think of how my teacher did a great job of picking books our class would connect with, and I try to do that as a Reading Buddy.”

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A kiddo relaxes in the reading nook at CLP – Hazelwood

Adrienne, a Reading Buddy and a twenty-year veteran of teaching, recalls: “As a child, I always enjoyed being read to or reading with someone.  Some of my favorite books were: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein,  the Dr. Seuss books, the Paddington series by Michael Bond, The Box Car Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner and books by Judy Blume.”

Since June, twelve Reading Buddies volunteers have spent more than 150 hours volunteering to support early literacy at CLP – Hazelwood.  As library staff, we appreciate and recognize the dedication of those who give their time and talents to support young minds in this way.

We’re currently recruiting Reading Buddies volunteers for three different Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations:  Hazelwood, Hill District and Sheraden. If you’re interested, you can apply online or contact us for more information.

-Ginny

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These Are Days: Support Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on October 3

There’s so much to see and do at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh that no two days here are ever alike. A child’s day at the library could be a day of story time, a day of origami, or maybe just a day with that special grown-up, picking out books and movies to share later at home. Teens can choose to have a day of gaming, a day of homework help, or maybe just a day to curl up in a beanbag chair and think for a little while.

Infinite possibilities abound for adults, too: maybe today is the day you’ll start taking steps toward your new career, learn a new language, enjoy a film or concert, brush up on your computer skills. Today could be a day of unwinding after work with a refreshing beverage and a magazine, or the day you start researching your family history. The choices are abundant, and they are yours.

Of course, thanks to the wonders of technology, you can have a day with the library, even if you’re not physically at the library. A day with the library can mean a day of downloading e-books/movies/music/magazines, getting homework help, working on your research paper, learning new technology skills, or reading library blogs, either on your desktop/laptop, or via the library app on your mobile device/tablet.

Tomorrow, Thursday October 3rd, is Pittsburgh’s Day of Giving, hosted by the Pittsburgh Foundation. If you and yours have enjoyed days of literacy and learning at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, we hope you’ll consider making a donation to support our continued activities in these areas.

DoG2013

Click the image above to learn more, or continue reading below!

This year’s Day of Giving runs from 12:00 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, October 3rd, 2013. During that time period, any donation of $25 or more to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh via the PittsburghGives website will be partially matched by the Pittsburgh Foundation (to learn the ins and outs of exactly how that works, click here). Your contribution helps us continue to provide:

  • More than 10,000 free programs, classes, and other learning/training opportunities.
  • A collection of more than 5 million items, including books, CDs, movies, digital downloads, and more.
  • Computer-based and wireless internet access in all library locations.
  • Professional librarians and other trained library workers, to help meet your information needs.
  • Meeting spaces for community groups.
  • Homework help for children, teens and adults.
  • An extensive suite of electronic resources that takes you behind the paywall of many academic / professional journals.
  • Resources for job-seekers.
  • Much, much more!

If you have questions about supporting the library on the Day of Giving, contact Charla Irwin-Buncher at 412-622-1873, or by e-mail at buncherc at carnegielibrary dot org (humans only, no spambots please!). Thank you in advance for making our day by making days at (and with) the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh last longer, and go further.

Leigh Anne

with a tip of the hat to 10,000 Maniacs

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We Are the Champions!

Team SignIt was a lazy Sunday afternoon, one of the first nice days of spring so far this year. 39 teams met to battle it out on the trivia field. It promised to be a battle for the ages. It was a battle where only one team would emerge victorious. That team was… the CLP Dewey Decimators!

The battle was the 6th Annual Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council Trivia Bowl, which was held on April 7th at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral. The Decimators were at the top of the pack for most of the competition, never falling below 4th place. Going into the final question, they were in second – 5 points behind the leader and last year’s champion. With the bravado of someone who knows they have to “go big or go home,” the Decimators bet all of their points on the final question.  (The final question was “Although they have since been disputed, according to recent reports Columbia University students are consuming up to 100 lbs of what food per day?”  Scroll down for the answer.) They finished with 640 points, earning them the win!

Without further ado, let me introduce to you the winning team from the GPLC Trivia Bowl,GPLC Trivia Bowl Winning Team the CLP Dewey Decimators:  Lisa from the Finance & Administration Dept., Denise from our Homewood Library location, Mykal from Shelving & Stack Services at Main, and Megan from Children’s Dept. at East Liberty. (That’s our cardboard Andrew Carnegie standing with the team. He was there to inspire them.) Two of the winning team members were on Pittsburgh Today Live to talk about the Trivia Bowl and their victory.

It was a great victory, but it was ultimately a fundraiser for a worthy cause. The mission of the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council dovetails nicely with the mission of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Many of our neighborhood library locations serve as sites for GPLC classes, workshops and tutoring sessions. The Library supports literacy and learning in all its forms and we always want the best for the individuals in our community. GPLC is one organization that helps our neighbors become the people they want to be, the people they can be.

The Library also has resources for ESL students, those looking to improve their literacy skills or get their GED. If you need us, the Library is here for you. We’ll get you the contacts and tools you need to succeed.

-Melissa M.

P.S. Here’s my favorite picture from the event…

Andy wears the Championship Belt!

Andy wears the Championship Belt!

P.P.S. The answer to the final question? Nutella.

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All Day, And All of the Night: Read to the People

What do Urban Mommies, a famous Froggy, and a local mystery maven have in common?  They’ll all be making an appearance at Read to the People, the 24-hour read-a-thon that begins today at noon.  That’s right:  144 volunteer readers, including many local celebrities, signed up for a collective 1,440 minutes of reading out loud to raise awareness of the Our Library, Our Future voter initiative.   That’s 24 hours of library love.  Makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over.

I’m biased, of course.  But, quite frankly, even if I didn’t work here, I’d still visit every day.  For starters,  you’d better believe I’d be getting my money’s worth from the library.  The amount of money I save on books alone is so embarrassingly high I’m surprised it’s not illegal:  $850 per every fifty books checked out on my card.  That makes the cost of a Donor Plus membership look, by comparison, decidedly affordable.  Add in the value of free internet access, free magazines and research journals, free cultural/educational programming, and all the other free perks that come with library membership? I’d be a fool not to spend my time here (especially if I were actually searching for a new job).

It’s the intangibles that matter most to me, though, namely my emotional attachment to the library as a palace of letters and light.  Illusory though it may be, it comforts me to think that, in our frazzled, consumption-driven world, there is still one place where any citizen may go and be treated with courtesy and respect.  One haven where, if they’re willing to work and learn, people can teach themselves anything they care to know.  A sanctuary that values both quiet spaces and noisy, cheerful, collaborative ones.  A place for children to dream and explore, and for adults to remember how to dream and explore.  A safe space to navigate the sometimes muddy waters of being a teen (and, of course, to have fun while doing so).  A place where, no matter how many times you’ve failed, you can always start over.

As lovely as all that sounds, I know that libraries can’t sustain themselves on dreams and illusions.  They need you:  your time, your ear, your voice, your donations, your vote.  That’s why I’m part of the volunteer crew staying up all night for Read to the People:  I love the library so much, I’m not content to be with it in the daytime. I’m going to stay up all night to support it, and so are a lot of your friends and neighbors.  Won’t you join us?

In conjunction with the brouhaha, Eleventh Stack will update frequently this weekend with photos and short posts about read-aloud festivities.  You can also get read-aloud tidbits on Facebook and Twitter, and participate virtually by retweeting and sharing links and photos in your social networks.  Spread the word, and we hope to see you soon, either outside or online!

—Leigh Anne

serendipitously celebrating nine years of library employment today

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