Linda Atkinson//Youth Services Department, Joliet Public Library
Since 2007, Joliet Public Library has collaborated with Easterseals Joliet Region Jumpstart Program to offer a rich array of early literacy programs for parents and their young children. Through our library storytimes and playgroups for infants, toddlers and their parents, those families that choose to participate are introduced to great books, age-appropriate songs and rhymes, and other early literacy activities. These programs are provided by trained Youth Services’ staff who serve as models for promoting early literacy development at home. In addition to staffed, library programs, collaboration between Jump Start and the library has offered paid programming opened to all families in our community such as Zumbini, a performance by Pocket Circus and concerts by Jim Gill, Ralph Covert, Jeannie B.
From all perspectives—parents, Jump Start Program staff, and library staff—library storytimes and playgroups have a positive impact on these families and their young children. Evidence suggests that most of these parents that attend regularly learn key child development and early literacy concepts, become less isolated from community resources and peers, and gain confidence. I look forward to my continued partnership with you, your team and other involved partners as we all continue to build and deliver the very best programs and services for all Joliet’s families.