Learning Together: Increasing staff and family commitment to early literacy at Phoenix Public Library
Duration: 1 hour, 5 minutes
As a large, urban public library system, Phoenix Public Library serves communities with high rates of childhood poverty and low rates of third grade reading proficiency. Because early literacy and language acquisition are critical factors in reading success, they have a laser focus on supporting children birth to age five and training caregivers to become the best first teachers.
In 2018, Phoenix Public Library added LENA Start to its early literacy program offerings. While the Early Literacy Outreach Team had always had a heart and mission to reach families with young children, adding LENA Start brought an increased knowledge of child development and new practices on how to best support families. Early literacy librarians have now been better able to communicate with families and have more strategies and tools and feel better equipped to support them.
We talked with Kathleen Harris, Early Literacy Outreach Team Supervisor at Phoenix Public Library, about their implementation journey. We discussed funding sources, community partnerships, staff development, how they pivoted to virtual during COVID, and their plans to return to in-person programming.
About Kathleen Harris
Kathleen Harris is an Early Literacy Outreach Team Supervisor with Phoenix Public Library. She has 20 years of experience working as a children’s librarian in public libraries. In 2018, she joined Phoenix Public Library’s Early Literacy Outreach Team to focus on serving children ages 0-5 and their caregivers. Kathleen participated in the rollout of the LENA Start program at Phoenix Public Library, and currently oversees staff leading LENA Start classes.