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April 4, 2017
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JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



State Library's Early Literacy Ready To Read Program Reaches Over 440 Public Libraries Across New York

State Education Department Advocates
for Continued Federal Funding of Program
that Serves Young Children Across New York

The New York State Library today announced that its early literacy Ready to Read at New York Libraries program has reached 444 public libraries since the program’s inception in 2014, serving young children and families throughout the state. Annual participation in early literacy library programs grew from 1.98 million children and caregivers in 2012 to more than 2.4 million over three years.

“We want all young children in this state to enter kindergarten prepared for success,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa. “Ready to Read has made a significant impact on early literacy programs that public libraries provide to communities across the state. It’s imperative that Ready to Read and other critical library programs that serve New York’s students continue to receive federal funding. Our children deserve it.”

“Through this statewide initiative, public libraries are providing families and caregivers vital resources to prepare their young children for school,” said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. “We urge our congressional leaders and educational partners to advocate for continued federal funding of this vital literacy program that serves children throughout New York State.”

Ready to Read at New York Libraries is an initiative of the New York State Education Department and State Library designed to improve and expand quality public library early literacy and early learning services across the state. In 2013 State Library staff began researching the need for and planning a statewide early literacy initiative for public libraries. In early 2014, a planning grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) enabled the State Library to further develop and launch phase one of Ready to Read at New York Libraries. The federal IMLS grant funds were instrumental in leveraging strong partnerships among libraries and other statewide organizations working with young families. These partnerships are helping New York’s libraries to reach even deeper into their communities in order to serve more families with young children, particularly those with high need.

Through a partnership with the 23 public library systems across the state, the State Library has provided public library staff with access to training and materials they need to make the library a vital community hub for early learning. The State Library has trained and certified 35 Ready to Read librarians to train library staff across the State. More than 850 library staff have benefited from the training programs thus far. The State Library also provides the DayByDayNY website which offers a virtual calendar of daily early literacy resources and literacy reinforcement strategies for librarians, teachers, caregivers, and families.

The State Library plans to continue to offer high-quality educational materials and support through the DayByDayNY website and the State Library’s Ready to Read website and to provide specialized statewide training via webinars. A Spanish version of DayByDayNY will be launched in Spring 2017. The state-funded Family Library Literacy Program is providing support for library systems to deliver early literacy training through June 2019.