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PCL receives $250,000 National Leadership Grant for Libraries

Published Date: 
September 27, 2013

We are very excited to announce that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) , the federal agency that supports museums and libraries, is awarding PCL a National Leadership Grant in the amount of $250,000.

IMLS will announce grants for 42 library projects totaling $14,670,662. The libraries were selected from more than 285 applications requesting a total of $37,977,530 and were awarded through three IMLS programs: the Native American Library Services Enhancement program, the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program, and the National Leadership Grants for Libraries program.

This National Leadership Grant will allow PCL to implement Ready for K!, a two-year project designed to reduce the achievement gap of 400 children who have never participated in a formal early learning program as they prepare to enter Kindergarten in the Providence public school system.Ready for K! will be a partnership between  PCL and Ready to Learn Providence, a school readiness initiative of The Providence Plan.

According to Providence Public School Department (PPSD) data, fully half of incoming Providence Kindergarten students lack any structured early learning education experience and enter kindergarten failing to meet age-appropriate language and literacy benchmarks. Ready for K! will build the capacity of 400 of these families to support their children’s school readiness skills so that they will enter school meeting these benchmarks, giving them a far better chance of achieving grade-level reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade.

By the time these children actually begin their kindergarten years, they and their families will have been exposed to new literacy skills, learning readiness activities, and the ongoing support network that Providence Community Library provides. Additionally, PCL will demonstrate that public libraries are able, competent, and passionate partners in meeting an essential community need – ensuring that all children are ready to learn and will be successful students. Through this collaborative effort to promote grade-level reading, PCL, and other public libraries, demonstrate the innovative ways in which libraries must be included in preparing today’s young people to be full participants in their local communities and our global society.

Kudos to Michelle Novello and Amy Greer who, together with our friends at Ready to Learn Providence, devised Ready for K! and who so ably assisted in the writing of the grant application.

Special thanks to Mayor Taveras, Congressman Cicilline, PPSD Superintendent Lusi, Providence Children and Youth Cabinet Director Rebecca Boxx, and RI Kids count Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant for their important letters in support of our grant application.

But most critically, we want to thank Senator Jack Reed for being our champion before the IMLS.