6 December 2018
Gunnedah Shire Library has won the NSW Public Libraries Association Innovation in Outreach Services Award for its ‘Bookends’ initiative at the recent Switch On Conference in Coffs Harbour.
The Library launched ‘Bookends’ in April 2018 as an after school literacy program designed to connect young children with local seniors who can help and encourage the children to develop their literary skills.
Gunnedah Shire Council Librarian Christiane Birkett said the one-on-one assistance makes a big difference in a child’s reading development and is what makes the program so successful.
“Participants can ‘borrow’ a senior for a 20 minute block, and during this period, they will select a number of books from the shelves to read to the senior,” Ms Birkett said.
“Providing children with a one-on-one learning environment enables them to learn at a rate that suits their level of ability and can progress in a fun and safe way.
“Children stay keen to learn with the myriad of activities and engaging stories that feature in the lessons.”
Ms Birkett said the program also provides parents with a way to track the learning progress of their children including the number of books completed and the learning milestones achieved.
“By linking ‘Bookends’ to the ‘1000 Books Before School Program’, children are offered reward incentives for their work,” she said.
The award is highly regarded in the library sphere, with ‘Bookends’ winning by showing its creativity, innovation, effectiveness and commitment to the outreach program.
“The program launched in time for Seniors Week and with the co-operation of the Pensioners’ Guild, GoCo and school teachers, which has allowed us to engage with a number of enthusiastic seniors that are available to interact and assist the youth in our community,” Ms Birkett said.
Council’s Director, Corporate and Community Services Colin Formann is pleased the library staff were recognised for their great work.
“I would like to congratulate library staff, children and the seniors on all their hard work and help with this program,” Mr Formann said.
“In particular I would like to recognise our Librarian, Christiane Birkett, who manages a wonderful and multi-award winning facility for the Gunnedah community.”
The program runs every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 3.00pm until 5.00pm and Friday afternoons from 3.00pm until 4.00pm.
‘Bookends’ seeks to help readers sound words out, build the child’s word bank, enhance fluency, teach children to automatically and accurately read books by building on their comprehension and understanding.
To find out more, book your child in to the program or sign up as a helper, please contact the Gunnedah Shire Library on (02) 6740 2190.
Photo: Gunnedah Shire Library rewarded for ‘Bookends’ initiative. Left to right: Robyn Draper, Librarian Christiane Birkett and Yvonne Reading.
Media Contact: Brooke Maisey 6740 2100.