Columbus Metropolitan Library‘s Ready to Read Corps, part of the library’s young minds strategic focus to encourage learning and growth, prepares some of Columbus’ most at risk youth for success in kindergarten.
By engaging not just children but entire communities, the Ready to Read Corps encourages families when they are faced with an array of challenges and affirms they are not alone. The impact is astounding and transformative.
We are honored to bring you their story during National Library Week. Every day at noon, we will add a new facet to this feature. Be sure to check back in.
In the meantime, please enjoy this wonderful video illustrating how Ready to Read helps create a foundation for a successful life.
Ryan Agnew and Stephanie Burley are two of the amazing members of the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Ready to Read Corps. Stephanie and Ryan serve children and families in the community through outreach to help ensure kindergarten readiness through literacy. They manage the bookmobile, provide home visits and develop lessons and best practices for storytime and programming.
Stephanie, a doctor of English literature and former Peace Corp volunteer, has been with CML since 2008 as a customer service representative, youth service specialist and most recently, Ready to Read specialist. She enjoys the fast-paced, challenging, and fun nature of the work.
Ryan, an accomplished artist, has taught at Ohio State and Ohio Dominican Universities and joined Columbus Metropolitan Library in 2008. He became a Ready to Read Corps member in 2013 and is passionate about his role in supporting disadvantaged families with babies, toddlers and preschoolers to be their children’s “first teachers” of foundational literacy skills.
We adore CML’s colorful and inviting Ready to Read bookmobile, lovingly named Rosie. Visiting roughly 200 homes a month and serving 500-800 families a year, Rosie, Ryan Agnew, Stephanie Burley and the Ready to Read team are changing lives.
The Ready to Read Corps also visits job and family services welcome centers, food pantries, WIC offices and pediatric centers where at risk families spend significant time. For many citizens, if no transportation to the library exists, they can’t go. Rosie bridges that gap while Ryan, Stephanie and other specialists provide encouragement, expertise and a customized collection to each visit.
Aboard Rosie, the Ready to Read Corp’s bookmobile, grown up and kids alike are invited to sign up for a library card. The library provides two options for kids and teens under the age of 17, they can obtain a standard library card, which requires a parent or guardian’s signature, or they can sign up for a kid card.
The kid card was created to remove all barriers that might prevent children from accessing the library’s collections. The card, which does not require a parent’s signature to sign up for, allows holders to check out up to five books at a time. Kids cards are not subject to fines or to being blocked due to overdue items. The library card also provides access any of CML’s 21 Homework Help Centers, library computers and research tools available through columbuslibrary.org.
The kid’s library card fosters a sense of responsibility, pride and ownership in children by allowing them to manage their library items. This summer, all children who enroll in the summer reading program will be asked to sign up for their own library cards.
CML’s Ready to Read Corps partners with several other organizations to extend and strengthen the library’s impact. Partners include Columbus Public Health, Center for Healthy Families and the Mt. Carmel Wellness & Community Center.
CML also started a pilot program with Learning Circle Education Services. The pilot evaluates library programs and patrons’ school performance, creating evidence-based metrics and ensuring continuous improvement.
Ready to Read has a measurable impact. Through a formal evaluation in partnership with The Ohio State University, CML found the program positively transforms parents’ attitudes about learning for themselves and their children.
Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Ready to Read Corps fulfills a very special purpose in our community, providing skills and opportunities not just for children, but for their parents as well. Through partnership, creativity and outreach, the dedicated and passionate team is able to help families achieve literacy and kindergarten readiness.
We are thankful to the team at CML for sharing the important work of the Ready to Read Corps and for allowing us to highlight their accomplishments this National Library Week. The Ready to Read Corps is a stunning example of the how libraries help transform young lives.