Kingston library secures award

LIBRARY AWARD: Kingston Community Library teacher Kirsten Barich welcomes the Jim Crawford award for its Literacy Without Barriers program. Picture: SUPPLIED

Charlotte Varcoe

THE Kingston Community Library has been recognised for its innovative Literacy Without Barriers program.

Library teacher Kirsten Barich accepted the Jim Crawford award which had a $10,000 prize.

The award is given out every two years for outstanding innovation in libraries.

Ms Barich said the award was given to the Kingston Community Library for its literacy program which started last year thanks to a grant from the Local Government Association.

“We have set up backpacks with 35 different titles and we have six copies of each title,” Ms Barich said.

“In each pack families get a picture book and along with that comes a guide of how to read it with the child, how to emphasise things and develop their understanding with it.”

She said it also included guidance on how to sing with the book, talk about the book and play with it.

“We are following the same guidance as Words Grow Minds and we did that because we thought we wanted parents to be hearing this language all the time,” Ms Barich said.

“We found there were less and less children coming to school developmentally ready so we thought about what barriers we could remove to try and improve that statistic.”

She said the idea behind the packs was everything parents needed to be successful with the book and encourage reading, playing and talking was already there.

“It removes any adult literacy barriers, any confidence barriers and access barriers,” Ms Barich said.

“It includes all the materials they might need to run an activity with it, whether that is making frozen dinosaur eggs, whether it is a magnifying glass to go exploring or a craft activity to make a Hungry Caterpillar, it is all there in the pack.”

She said the packs were making the books come to life for children while also encouraging the fun in reading and fostering that love.

“The child and parent are more likely to ask whether they can learn something to play with it together and that is a really enjoyable thing,” Ms Barich said.

“It has been brilliant and we have had so many comments from parents who cannot believe it is free which is exactly the feedback we wanted.

“We also found parents were more confident in their delivery because we have a lot of mums at our programs who ask if they are doing things right so they have been really grateful for this.”

Ms Barich said library staff had noticed an increase in families coming to the preschool session and more book borrowings.

“This has been really heart warming and we have seen more parents coming to us for advice to help them learn about a particular topic or develop a particular skill,” she said.

“I feel as though the packs have helped increase the trust families have in the library service which is important for us being a school community library because we are that in-between.”

She said staff were excited and proud to have received the award, especially as they were the first to do so.

“We are so proud of some of the things happening not only here but also in other libraries around the region,” Mr Barich said.