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Starr La Tronica's picture

Urgent online Board meeting to consider Queens Library request for letter of support for IMLS grant

Greetings, Board!  We have received an 11th hour request for a letter of support from Queens Library for their IMLS grant proposal.  We only received the request this morning and the letter is due on Monday, so we have limited time for discussion.  Details are provided in the message below:

Dear Aimee:

By way of introduction: I am a former Director of ALA’s Office for Diversity and had the chance to work with former ALSC ED’s Susan Roman and Malore Brown during my tenure.

I am now at Queens Library and we’ve just heard back from IMLS this week that our Queens Library’s proposed national summit to look at the future role of urban public libraries in providing Early Learning support for young children, their families and caregivers, was indeed timely. That was what we’d hoped to hear. The next hurdle of course is a finalized proposal that reflects this urgency.

If funded, we would likely try to convene before Midwinter 2015 in Chicago. I am thus requesting two letters of support from ALA: from ALSC because of the focus on young children; and from OLOS and OFD because a major area of focus will be reaching parents and adult caregivers who reflect the full range of cultural, linguistic, educational and income backgrounds. I’ve already reached out to Michelle Harrell Washington.

Please see more information below about this prospective event as well as a sample letter of support. We are asking that letters of support be customized by your agency and signed, scanned and emailed back to us by Monday, Feb 3 at latest. Please forgive the near deadline. The conversation with IMLS this week was the last push we needed.

If we are awarded the grant to support this convening we will certainly request your attendance and greeting.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions. I do hope this is an effort you would find worthwhile.

Gratefully,

Tracie D. Hall

VP, Strategy and Organizational Development

Queens Library

O: 718-990-8691

E: tracie.hall@queenslibrary.org

W: www.queenslibrary.org

Further Information:

Early Learning Conference:  Summary:

There have been several studies done on the value of Early Learning services to children and their caregivers to support cognitive development; pre-literacy skills; and closing the educational gap at the earliest stage (pre-kindergarten and kindergarten).  Pew Research, the Case Foundation and even IMLS have provided research on this over the years.  Queens Library has incorporated this information into is three year Strategic Plan to include a comprehensive approach to early/family learning.  There is a growing number of grant-funded demonstrations and acknowledged best practices in the area of early learning, including the realization that public libraries in urban and even, rural areas have  a reach and access across communities that few other public service providers can duplicate.

Therefore, Queens Library proposes to convene a two-day National Forum for stakeholders in the field of Early Learning, do discuss the role that libraries can and should have in integrating early literacy with family literacy, and coordinating with local, statewide and national stakeholders. 

Projected Convening Outcomes:

·         Participants will receive tactical “Blueprints” that will serve as roadmaps on helping them build

o     EL curricula that aligns with new general EL and common core expectations

o    Working relationships with local school districts and education departments

o    program and outreach models

o    staffing  and professional development to support the transition from informal to more formal EL program and service provision

o    New approaches to space planning and design for Early Learning

o    Impact and outcome measurements that demonstrate positive change and gains to current and potential funders, sponsors elected officials and other stakeholders

o    An Advocacy and policy plan for supporting and sustaining EL efforts define the role of libraries in reducing education gap  

Convening will cover: The topics above and specifically Family Literacy, STEM, Parents and Caregiver Outreach, Design, Connecting Informal and Formal learning, Transitioning from informal to formal learning programs, etc.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SAMPLE LETTER

Date

Mr. Thomas W. Galante

President and Chief Executive Officer

Queens Library

89-11 Merrick Boulevard

Jamaica, NY  11432

 Dear Mr. Galante:

[NAME OF ORGANIZATION] is writing in full support of Queens Library’s application to the Institute for Museum and Library Services for a National Leadership-National Forum Grant to hold a symposium on Early Childhood Education in Urban Libraries. 

Queens Library proposes to bring together urban libraries from across the country, along with experts in the field of early childhood development, social service agencies, museums, policy-makers and foundations, to develop roadmaps for incorporating the community-based services of local organizations; resources of city and state agencies and research around the evolving field of early learning. 

[NAME OF AGENCY] fully recognizes the need for such a discussion and is pleased to support the Queens Library’s proposal.

Sincerely,

NAME OF OFFICIAL

TITLE

As you assess this request, please consider that we have also issued a letter of support for the Access Content and Evaluation grant proposal.  I do not know what impact it will have to submit letters for two different proposals, (perhaps one of you has insight into the process that would be helpful).

Starr

Megan Schliesman's picture

I don't know the answer to Starr's question about writing a letter in support of two grants.  However, if we decide that isn't a conflict, I would be in favor of writing a letter of support for this.  I think their proposal incorporates some of the things we have been talking about--partnerships and early literacy to name two. I think their ideas for bringing together so many facets of communities around early literacy will may result in strategies moving forward that can be drawn on by all libraries and communities. (I think this comprehensive approach engaging the broad community is how libraries of all types will strategize to meet not only the early literacy challenge, but the achievement gap as well, so there are things that may be useful beyond early literacy coming out of this.)

Regarding two letters of support--has this ever come up in the past?  If so, what did the board decide?

Megan

Gretchen Caserotti's picture

My experience with grants is that there would be no conflict in writing 2 different letters for 2 different (even if similar) projects. 

This sounds like a wonderful (ambitious) idea and I can't think of any negatives from writing a letter of support. If it is funded, it would provide an opportunity to further our advocacy and partnerships objectives. I'm especially excited to see the focus on parents/caregivers. I would be in favor of writing a letter. 

Jan Watkins's picture

The importance of recognizing that young children deserve and need all of the support they can get to  prepare them for their future is a priority in our strategic plan. This grant shows promise for the community coming together strategically to lessen the learning gap for children who most need help. The focus on parent education is vital.

Ellen Riordan's picture

I concur with Gretchen that there is no conflict of interest in writing a letter of support for two different grants that are of value to our members. The only time writing more than one letter of support could be in conflict is if, were both projects funded, there would be impact on the organization that could not be sustained. That is not the case here.

 This symposium has potential to continue the conversation started at the ALSC and Leadership meeting since many urban families are also dealing with poverty. In young children, parent/caregiver connection is key. Any work that can help chart our work in this area deserves our support. In addition, urban communities face special challenges to early learning since so often the large and complex educational organizations that make policy decisions for them are broken or not trusted by the public.

 

Lisa Von Drasek's picture

I do support and wish the well...quibble

"The topics above and specifically Family Literacy, STEM, Parents and Caregiver Outreach, Design, Connecting Informal and Formal learning, Transitioning from informal to formal learning programs, etc."

Does their proposal include Every Child Ready To Read, just wondering....

Lisa Von Drasek, University of Minnesota Libraries

Carolyn Brodie's picture

Yes, I am in support of this as well.  And, from past IMLS grant experience (on both sides as an applicant and as an IMLS reviewer) there would not be a problem with support for two proposals, particularly with the variety in focus. 

Another worthy project indeed.

 

Ernie Cox's picture

I concur with all your thoughtful points and also wondered if ECRR would have a role in this summit.

Andrew Medlar's picture

I support supporting this.

Andrew

Starr La Tronica's picture

Perhaps we could make sure that our commitment to EL and ECCR is prominently featured in our letter of support, should we vote to send one.Starr


On

Diane Foote's picture

I support this and agree with earlier comments that it is not a problem to write letters of support for two grants. Is there room to ask/say that ALSC would like to appoint one of the "stakeholders in the field of early learning?" To me it's obvious that there be an ALSC representative at the table, but I don't see it explicitly stated.

--Diane, dfoote@dom.edu, 708-524-6054

Diane Foote
Assistant Dean
Dominican University GSLIS
dfoote@dom.edu, 708-524-6054
http://www.dom.edu/gslis

Jamie Naidoo's picture

Greetings Everyone,

I concur that this is a great initiative for ALSC to support. Wouldn't it be wonderful if both IMLS grants are funded!

I agree with Starr's comment about adding ECRR and suggest we also note our desire to appoint a stakeholder in the letter of support.

Best,

Jamie

Jamie Campbell Naidoo, Ph.D.
Associate & Foster-EBSCO Endowed Professor
Univ of AL - SLIS
513 Gorgas Library – Box 870252
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0252
jcnaidoo@slis.ua.edu

Lisa Von Drasek's picture

If it wasn't clear, I support the support. Thank you Diane, you articulated what I was thinking but didn't have the words. Lisa

Lisa Von Drasek, University of Minnesota Libraries

Rita Auerbach's picture

I agree that this is a project we should be involved in and supporting. I have served on IMLS panels and I don't believe there is any problem in supporting these two proposals.

 

Michael Santangelo's picture

I agree that we should support this proposal.

Starr La Tronica's picture

Call for motion and second.Greetings Board--as per the timetable in my original post--I need a motion and a second to move this forward.  When that has occurred I will open a poll for voting.

Thanks!
Starr

O

Ellen Riordan's picture

I call a motion to provide a letter of support to Queens Library's IMLS grant in response to their request.

On Feb 1, 2014 11:40 AM, "ALA Connect" connect@ala.org> wrote:

Diane Foote's picture

I second the motion to provide a letter of support to Queens Library's IMLS grant. Is it appropriate for me to add at this point that we include a request for an ALSC representative in our letter? Or is that a new motion? Or not necessary?

Diane Foote
Assistant Dean
Dominican University GSLIS
dfoote@dom.edu, 708-524-6054
http://www.dom.edu/gslis

Starr La Tronica's picture

Being less formal and all--I think that we can use our discretion to let them know we would be happy to be @ the table with them.  Starr


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