Check Out Your Local Libraries, Hosts of Diverse Literacy and Afterschool Programs

Throughout the state of Michigan, public libraries serve as a resource for afterschool partnerships and programs for students in their service area. This can be seen at any of the 13 branches of the Capital Area District Libraries (CADL) located in Ingham County. The intended audience for our programs cover a range of age groups and stages of education. Programs like Kids Reading to Dogs are focused on early readers and allow students to build their literacy skills by reading out loud to a patient therapy dog. For programs like Pizza and Pages Book Group, 3rd graders and higher can gain confidence in their reading ability by discussing the chapter book they’ve read while getting an afterschool snack. Each of these programs build on the library’s mission of getting younger students to read at least 20-30 minutes a day outside of their reading in the classroom. This is something that we instill in children when they participate in our Summer Reading program and we try to continue this practice in many of our afterschool programs and activities. 

For older students, we host tutoring sessions with a partnership with Michigan State University. MSU students will tutor students after school in any general subject at drop-in sessions at many of our libraries. This program allows students to get help they need in a calm and relaxed atmosphere while also helping MSU students gain valuable teaching and instruction skills. 

At CADL, we’ve also seen the need for a focus on building digital literacy skills for students. With a partnership with Google, we began offering programs for students through the Grow with Google initiative. In the fall, we’ll host the Grow with Google Choose Your Own Adventure program where students will design an interactive story through Google Slides. We’ve also hosted coding programs for students through a partnership with Michigan State University’s Computer Science Department. Through programs like these, students are beginning to build their computational thinking skills that will prepare them for secondary education and the 21st century work force.

As you can see, the public library works with students and afterschool programs to offer events that help guide a student through their educational life. As schools and afterschool programs think of how to offer students educational programs, I hope they reach out to the public library in their area to see what they offer. Along with providing a safe and welcoming space after school, public libraries want students in our communities to be successful, while also helping them see the joy and benefits of reading, literacy and education.

Scott Duimstra is the Executive Director of the Capital Area District Library in the greater Lansing area.  

If you are a partner with a community group that’s added important value to your program, let us know and we can help write or arrange a blog about it for a future MASP story or blog. Contact Communications Manager Teri Banas at teribanas03@gmail.com.