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Score Big With Books

East Baton Rouge Parish Library

Innovation Summary

The Pre-school Literacy Outreach Service deploys 5 vehicles, including a 37' bookmobile to over seventy daycares, early learning centers each month. For participants, each center receives selected materials for book deposit collections. Staff visits centers to model storytelling techniques, share parenting information, and bring materials related to the curricula.

Innovation Leader: Chaundra Carroccio, Adult Programming & Outreach Services Coordinator, ccarroccio@ebrpl.com

Problem Statement

Louisiana ranks 49th in child well-being. It’s no secret that “Kids Who Read, Succeed.” Sadly, our local reading scores indicate that many of our children are struggling. Part of the problem is that children are not exposed to reading from a young age. In a recent study of whether Louisiana children were ready for school, East Baton Rouge Parish was scored with a high risk factor of 3 out of 4. Reading test results show that LA ranks 50th in 4th grade and 49th in 8th grade reading. Majority of the residents of LA penal institutions have fourth- and fifth- grade educations… in fact, many states (Louisiana included) build prisons to size based on the number of 4th graders who are not reading on level! 20% of the children in Baton Rouge have mothers without a high school degree. That’s why it is so hard but so important to BREAK the inter-generational cycle of illiteracy. Up to one-fifth of LA’s adult population functions at the lowest level of literacy. This number holds true for Baton Rouge, in spite of being a center of government, business, industry, and higher education. Of utmost importance is reading aloud to children and providing opportunities for them to discuss the stories that they hear. The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children, especially during the preschool years.

Innovation

With Score Big with Books, we are not only promoting reading to children and their parents, but also highlighting the Library’s Outreach Service to children. Orlando Magic star, Glen "Big Baby" Davis partnered with the Library to promote literacy to kids. Traveling on the library’s 37' bookmobile, Glen toured the city sharing his love for reading with kids at BREC summer camps, libraries, community centers, preschool's, daycares, learning centers, and other similar sites throughout the city. His schedule also included an event for high school basketball coaches featuring Coach Dale Brown as the guest speaker, a book signing of his kids’ book, “Basketball with Big Baby,” a free Demo and Drill at Cortana Mall, and a reception and silent auction at the Louisiana State Museum. Stops at the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge and visits with several local Kiwanis groups were also carried out. Since the intial roll out of the service, more than 856 visits occured to 50,609 children, teens, and adults. Many people in outlying communities rely on the bookmobile to meet their library needs.The Bookmobile now has regular stops at apartment complexes heavily populated with multi-lingual speaking residents.

Progress

Our parish is faced with significant literacy challenges and the chance to partner with “Big Baby” to reach kids and hopefully help tackle these issues while they are young has had a tremendous impact on their futures.