The 2006 Texas Reading Club theme is “Reading: The Sport of Champions!” in English and “¡La lectura: el deporte de campeones!” in Spanish. The goals of the Texas Reading Club are to encourage the children of Texas to read for pleasure, to help children maintain and improve their reading skills, to encourage them to become lifelong readers and library users, and to establish reading as a foundation for academic success.
Research shows that reading during school vacations allows children to maintain and improve reading skills achieved during the academic year. This is especially critical for new readers and for children who have difficulty reading. Children who enjoy regular visits to the library are more likely to continue to be readers and library supporters as adults. In many communities, the library plays an important role by equalizing access to information, technology, creative experiences, and educational and recreational materials for all children and their caregivers. For more information on research related to summer reading and public libraries, consult the section of this manual titled, “Research Related to Summer Reading.”
The purpose of this manual is to assist library staff and volunteers who serve young people by suggesting programs and materials that will attract children to the library for enjoyable learning experiences. When all children and families in Texas know that the library is a friendly and welcoming place and have the opportunity to enjoy library materials, programs, and services, we will have achieved our goal.
The 2006 Texas Reading Club manual is available online at www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/trc/2006/ and on CD-Rom. The chapters in this manual are arranged by age level to allow library staff and volunteers to select program ideas that are appropriate for toddlers, preschool children, elementary school children, and young adults. Ideas are also provided for opening and closing celebrations or special events that include a variety of ages. A section with reader’s theater and puppet play scripts and ideas for creative dramatics is also included. A Bilingual Programs Chapter provides ideas for programming for young Spanish-speaking children and their families. Volunteers and staff new to children’s programming will find all of the information needed to conduct programs in the chapters; more experienced staff may select elements to create their own programs. In most cases, more than enough material is provided for a typical program, allowing the staff and volunteers to select the ideas that best match the community’s interests, resources, and opportunities.
Each chapter includes a combination of the following components, as appropriate.
- Books to Share, Display, and Booktalk
- Bulletin Boards, Displays, Decorations, and Nametags
- Fingerplays, Rhymes, Poetry
- Songs (or citations to books and web sites where lyrics and music may be found)
- Riddles and Jokes
- Games and Activities
- Guest Speakers and Performers
- Audio Recordings, Audio Books, and Films
- Web-based Activities, Web sites, and CD-ROMs
- Reader’s Theater Scripts, Puppet Plays, and Stories (or citations to books and web sites where these can be found)
- Professional Resources for additional program planning or for library staff to use within a program
Children’s book illustrator, Frank Remkiewicz, created the artwork for the 2006 Texas Reading Club. The clip art is the intellectual property of the artist, Frank Remkiewicz, but Texas libraries have the right to use it to promote the 2006 Texas Reading Club and their libraries in accordance with the "Acceptable Use of Artwork" that is included in this manual. The clip art is available on both the web site and the CD-ROM manual formats. Librarians may enlarge or reduce the clip art, reverse it, flip it, or crop it, but may not alter it in any other way. Texas libraries may use the clip art for crafts, programs, flyers, decorations, and other library-related materials. For example, use the clip art to create any of the following items.
- Craft items
- Bulletin board decorations
- Tabletop or shelf decorations
- Program mementos
- Coloring sheets
- Refrigerator magnets or other incentives
Commercial vendors may use the clip art to create incentives and promotional items for Texas libraries but must contact the Texas State Library and Archives Commission for specific guidelines and must agree to honor the artist's copyright.
Two theme songs are included in this manual: an original song by Sara Hickman and a “piggyback” song by Sally Meyers. Sara Hickman’s song is available as a sound file in the manual on the Texas Reading Club web site and on the CD-ROM. Librarians are asked to abide by the statement of Appropriate Use of Theme Song, which is also included. The recording may be used without fee for any non-commercial library use in Texas, in accordance with the Appropriate Use of Theme Song.
Web sites featuring background information or instructions on program topics, or additional resources, are recommended for many of the programs. They are suitable for children, or for library staff and volunteers who wish to provide activities in addition to those listed in the programs. Librarians might bookmark those sites intended for children on the library’s computers, or display them near the computers. Some web sites are also included in the Professional Resources sections. These resources are for the library staff and are not likely to be of interest to youngsters. A brief annotation has been provided to assist in determining how the sites might fit with programs.
All of the web sites were active as of October 2005. Sites often change, move, or are removed. It is advisable for librarians to view the web sites before directing children to them. If an error message appears, it may be necessary to search for the web page title using a search engine to find the new web address of the site. Additionally, a search engine may be used to locate another web site that includes the referenced information.
Web pages included in this manual may contain links to additional web sites that are managed by organizations, companies, or individuals. These sites are not under the control of the Texas State Library, and the Texas State Library is not responsible for the information or links in them. This manual provides links as a convenience, and the presence of the links is not an endorsement of the sites by the Texas State Library.
It is our goal to reach as many children as possible and provide them with opportunities to learn about libraries and the joys of reading. Many children are not able to come to the library on their own. Many young children are in childcare and Head Start centers during the day. Parents, especially in low-income families, may not know about library programs and services or may not have the time or transportation to bring their children to the library. It is important that librarians reach out to all youth, especially those who might not otherwise have opportunities for literature-related experiences. Librarians are encouraged to establish outreach programs for underserved children, including those with disabilities, those in families where English is not the first language, and those whose families lack the financial resources for transportation.
While we certainly wish to encourage children and families to visit the library, library staff and volunteers must also bring library programs and services to children and families who may not be aware of our programs, or who may not have access to them. Librarians are encouraged to collaboratively sponsor reading clubs in locations throughout the community such as childcare and Head Start centers, recreation centers, health clinics, housing projects, and other locations where children are during the day. Encourage staff at partner organizations to apply for a group or business library card that allows them to borrow materials for use by the children they serve. Volunteers may assist by bringing depository collections of books and reading club supplies to the outreach locations.
Another way to reach underserved children and families is to bring library programs, such as storytimes, crafts, puppet shows, and other events, to locations in the community. These may be one-time events, such as storytime at a grocery store or shopping center, or on-going partnerships with schools, children's museums, or recreation centers. Often area shopping malls, movie theaters, museums, and other businesses and organizations sponsor summer “camps” that provide weekly activities for children. Contact them and offer to help by providing a storytime or craft activity.
Connect outreach activities to the library by giving children bookmarks, flyers, or other materials to take home. Distribute items such as stickers that proclaim, "I visited my library today" that are available through Upstart, www.highsmith.com. Alternatively, make custom stickers with self-adhesive labels and a printer. Not only will your program statistics increase, but you will also see an increase in traffic at the library and you will have demonstrated the library’s commitment to serving all children.
Librarians sometimes believe that everyone knows they are welcome in the library. However, this is not always the case. Invite and welcome children and families to visit the library.
Children’s librarians believe that summer reading is a good thing for children. Researchers have been studying the educational value and impact of summer reading programs for more than fifty years. The classic study, Summer Learning and the Effects of Schooling by Barbara Heynes (Academic Press, 1978), confirmed many of our assumptions. Additional studies have further defined the importance of public library summer reading programs. A few of Heynes’ specific findings include the following.
- The number of books read during the summer is consistently related to academic gains.
- Children in every income group who read six or more books over the summer gained more in reading achievement than children who did not.
- The use of the public library during the summer is more predictive of vocabulary gains than attending summer school.
- "More than any other public institution, including the schools, the public library contributed to the intellectual growth of children during the summer." (p.77)
As you seek funding, support, and donations for your reading club, it will be useful to discuss the value of the program. Consider the findings of these additional studies.
- Libraries continue to play a major role in fostering literacy, especially among those most needing assistance in developing literacy skills, e.g., preschool and elementary school children. (Celano, Donna and Susan B. Neuman. The Role of Public Libraries in Children's Literacy Development: An Evaluation Report. Pennsylvania Library Association, 2001. Available on-line)
- Reading as a leisure activity is the best predictor of comprehension, vocabulary, and reading speed. (Krashen, Stephen. The Power of Reading. Libraries Unlimited, 1993.)
- Having elementary school pupils read four or five books during the summer can prevent the reading-achievement losses that normally occur over those months. (Kim, Jimmy S. “Summer Reading and the Ethnic Achievement Gap.” Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, Vol. 9, No. 2, Pages 169-188.)
In a study funded by the Los Angeles County Public Library Foundation, researchers found that before the summer, 77% of parents reported their child read 9 hours or less per week. During the summer, parents reported a 9% increase in the number of children reading 10-14 hours per week, and the number of children reading 15 or more books per week rose 11%. (Evaluation and Training Institute for the Los Angeles County Public Library Foundation. Evaluation of the Public Library Summer Reading Program: Books and Beyond…Take Me to Your Reader! Final Report, December 2001. Available on-line.)
From an economic perspective, Steve Brown, director of North Richland Hills (TX) Public Library, looked at the dollar value of summer reading. In his article, “What Is a Summer Worth?,” (Texas Library Journal, Summer 2005) Brown calculated the cost for teachers to review basic reading skills. Based on his figures, public library summer reading programs are estimated to save schools $873 per reader. Calculate this value times the number of children who participate in your program and you have quite a return on a small investment.
While we want the children to have fun, use the library, enjoy reading, and check out library materials, these studies show that public library summer reading programs also play an important role in the education of our children.
Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library is a joint project of the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children, divisions of the American Library Assocation. Current research on early literacy and brain development indicates that it is never too early to prepare children for success as readers and learners. Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library incorporates the latest research into a series of parent and caregiver workshops. Training kits for workshops, videos, posters, brochures in Spanish and English, information about research, and more are available from the American Library Association at www.ala.org/ala/pla/plaissues/earlylit/earlyliteracy.htm. These resources provide public librarians with vital tools to help inform parents of newborns, toddlers and preschoolers of their critical role as their children's first teacher. They also enable librarians to offer early literacy workshops for parents in their community.
Researchers have found that there is almost a 90% probability that a child will remain a poor reader at the end of the fourth grade if the child is a poor reader at the end of the first grade. There is a clear relationship between the skills with which children enter school and their later academic performance. Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library emphasizes six important pre-reading skills that children must understand in order to successfully learn to read.
- Narrative Skills: Being able to describe things and events and tell stories.
- Print Motivation: Being interested in and enjoying books.
- Letter Knowledge: Knowing letters are different from each other, knowing their names, and recognizing letters everywhere.
- Phonological Awareness: Being able to hear and play with the similar sounds in words.
- Vocabulary: Knowing the names of things.
- Print Awareness: Noticing print, knowing how to handle a book, and knowing how to follow the words on a page.
Use some of the techniques suggested below to incorporate the six pre-reading skills into your storytimes during your Texas Reading Club programs and throughout the year. Begin by displaying an Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library poster in the storytime room. Before storytime, remind parents of their important role in early literacy and encourage them to attend storytime with their children. At storytime, briefly describe one or two of the six pre-reading skills, and model them for the parents.
- Read a book or tell a flannel story. Ask the children to tell you the order in which the characters appeared in the story or the plot. If you are using a flannel board, let the children place the characters on the board in the order in which they appeared in the story.
- Read a book or tell a simple story. Encourage the children to tell their version of the story to someone at home or on the way home from storytime.
- Teach the children a repetitive word or phrase from a book or story. Ask them to listen and repeat the word or phrase whenever it is used in the story.
- Show your enthusiasm and enjoyment of books as you read them during storytime.
- Display additional books related to the storytime theme and encourage the children to check them out after storytime.
- Begin reading a storytime book. At a crucial point momentarily close the book, and see if the children react.
- Incorporate the first letter of your weekly theme into your storytime. For instance, if your theme is pigs, display an upper and lower case "P" and demonstrate the letter’s sound. Have the children repeat the sound.
- Make nametags for the children to wear each week.
- Display posters and signs in the storytime room.
- Sing songs that allow children to hear how words are broken into syllables. For example, sing “The Eensy Weensy Spider" and clearly enunciate the syllables.
- Read a book or present a flannel board with rhyming words. Repeat the rhyming words when the story ends.
- Recite Mother Goose and other simple rhymes. Ask the children to repeat them.
- If a book contains a word that the children may not know, introduce the word before reading the book and tell the children what the word means. Ask them to listen for the word in the story. After you finish reading a book, repeat the word. Have the children repeat the word and briefly talk about its meaning again. Describe the word in context to the story.
- Connect new words to experiences of young children.
- Display objects or pictures representing new words.
- After you read a book or finish a flannel biard, ask the children to name the objects in the story.
- Run a finger under the title of the book as you read it aloud.
- Point to a repetitive word in a story and have the children say it each time you read the word, or have them repeat a refrain.
- Pull a book out of the storytime bag. Place a big book upside down on a stand, or open a book backwards and hold it incorrectly. Watch to see if the children react. Then show the children the correct way to display or hold a book.
Help parents feel comfortable with their role in their child’s literacy development by providing take-home sheets and handouts whenever possible. The handouts can include song lyrics, rhymes, fingerplays, games, and suggestions for additional activities that parents or caregivers can practice with the child between storytimes. In addition to the resources available through the Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library web site, material provided in the Texas Reading Club manuals may be used throughout the year. Copies of past Texas Reading Club manuals, along with other early literacy resources such as Read to Your Bunny and El día de los niños: El día de los libros are available on the Texas State library web site at www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/pubs/.
We don’t mean to rain on your parade, but several legal issues may affect your programming. If you have questions about a specific situation, please seek legal counsel. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission shares this information but is unable to offer legal advice.
The Bingo Enabling Act
Bingo games fit so many areas of our programs. It is an easy game to play and can be tailored for almost any topic. While you may be tempted to play “Sports Bingo,” “Nutrition Bingo,” or even “loteria de leer,” as you plan your summer programs, please be aware that it is a third degree felony, subject to a $10,000 fine and three years of jail time, to sponsor any bingo without a license.
The Bingo Enabling Act does not permit libraries, schools, and non-profit organizations to sponsor any type of Bingo game without a license from the Texas Lottery Commission. Licenses are required for all types of bingo, including Mexican Bingo or loteria. Licenses are only available to organizations that hold a 501c exemption from the IRS and have been in existence for at least 3 years. Applying for a license may take 30 to 60 days. Application forms are available on-line at www.txbingo.org. According to the Lottery Commission, a license may cost from $100 to $2500 per year. Libraries with bingo licenses must charge for playing bingo and must collect taxes. They must maintain records and file quarterly reports with the Texas Lottery Commission. Additionally, "An individual younger than 18 years of age may not play bingo conducted under a license issued under this chapter unless the individual is accompanied by the individual's parent or guardian.” For more information on the Bingo Enabling Act, please visit the Texas Lottery Commission’s web site. Specifically, see Subchapter L. Enforcement, Sec. 2001.551. Unlawful Bingo; Offense.
According to the State of Texas, bingo “means a specific game of chance, commonly known as Bingo or lotto, in which prizes are awarded on the basis of designated numbers or symbols conforming to numbers or symbols selected at random." It is tempting to think that because we don’t charge fees to play, or we are basing a game on books, library resources, or educational topics, or that we are not offering any prizes, that the game is not really bingo. If it looks anything like bingo and the winner is determined by chance, then don’t take the chance that you’ll get in trouble! Play Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, or some other game instead.
This section will discuss copyright primarily as it relates to public performance of music and videos in library programs, as well as provide some basic information about copyright as it relates to public libraries. The information is intended to help library staff and volunteers understand issues related to the use of materials in library programs that are protected by copyright. Please consult an attorney if you have questions about copyright and fair use. The information provided in this section is not intended to provide legal advice.
Items of creative property, such as written works like books, poetry, magazine articles, or jokes, music, and film are covered by copyright unless the item is in the public domain. All items are covered by copyright by default upon its creation regardless of whether the creator registers the copyright or includes a notice of copyright on the work. A creative work that is not protected by copyright is said to be in the public domain. Everyone may freely use works that are in the public domain. Reasons that a work is not protected include:
(1) the term of copyright for the work has expired;
(2) the author failed to satisfy statutory formalities to perfect the copyright, or
(3) the work is a work of the U.S. Government.
In general, works created before 1923 are now in the public domain. Works created after 1923 are subject to a variety of laws that regulate copyright and renewal of copyright. The Cornell Copyright Information Center provides an excellent chart outlining copyright terms for various types of materials.
Some writers want their material to be widely available and choose not to enforce their copyright, or they specifically “license” certain kinds of free use, such as for non-commercial or educational purposes. It is important to understand, however, that just because something is “freely available” or can be found in many locations on the Internet, the item is probably still covered by copyright. Assume that someone owns the copyright to material unless you find documentation to the contrary!
Just to add to the complexities, some art becomes so intricately connected to a specific company that even though the copyright may have expired, the material does not become part of the public domain because it is part of the company’s trademark. Mickey Mouse, for example, was created in 1920 and therefore should no longer be covered by copyright. However, as a symbol of the Walt Disney Company, representations of Mickey are covered by other rules and you may not make copies of Mickey Mouse.
In order to comply with copyright, the manual writers have only included text of poems, songs, stories, etc., when these items are in the public domain or when specific approval has been granted for their use. Otherwise, we have provided information on how to find the material needed for the program. Whenever possible, we have provided links to clip art and patterns that can be freely used for non-commercial purposes in libraries.
For more information about copyright, including fact sheets about fair use and searchable databases to determine copyright ownership, go to the Library of Congress, www.copyright.gov. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission also offers an on-line tutorial on copyright at tsl.texas.gov/ld/tutorials/copyright/1a.html.
Questions have been raised about the use of recorded music in public library storytimes and other programs. A public performance is defined as “one in a place open to the public or at any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances might gather.” Damages of a minimum of $750 for each infraction might be levied for unlawful public performance. If you use music in storytimes, programs, puppet shows, and such, you might want to get legal advice as to whether or not a license is required for those public performances or whether the use is considered “fair use” under copyright laws.
It might be possible to argue that storytimes are an educational setting, in which case exceptions to the exclusive rights of a copyright owner for educational uses might apply. Many libraries have a “curriculum” for preschool storytimes that focus on pre-literacy skills such as learning the alphabet, concepts, and colors. Such “curricula” would support your argument that your use should meet the requirements for teaching exceptions. If you intend to rely on this exception, you should seek legal advice to gain a more complete understanding of the teaching exception than can be provided by the Texas State Library.
Music that is played while families enter the program room, theme music for puppet shows, a song played to start or end the storytime program each week, background music for gatherings, or music played for a teen program, would probably not be considered either an educational exception or a fair use. For those uses, the library needs a public performance license or licenses. Even if the children sing a song, it is technically considered a public performance and a license is required unless the song is in the public domain.
It is not always easy to determine if a specific song is in the public domain. For example, “Happy Birthday to You” is a popular song that is not in the public domain, while “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” is a traditional song that is in the public domain. Check out Public Domain Music, a reference site for songs that may be in the public domain. Keep in mind that just because a song is in the public domain, does not mean that the specific recording of the song is. The artist may have rearranged the public domain song and copyrighted that version; in that case, you can only use the original lyrics and arrangement, not the copyrighted performance of the music.
Before you start rolling your eyes and thinking to yourself, “The copyright police won’t catch us, and anyway, we’ve been doing this forever,” stop and think. First, libraries should be in the forefront of protecting copyright and setting a good example for our patrons. We tell kids they should not illegally download MP3 files. If we publicly perform music without appropriate permission, our actions are comparably illegal. Second, it’s easy to get a public performance license and in fact, your city or county may already have one that covers the library.
The public performance of music is licensed by three organizations. When a songwriter or composer signs a deal for the music to be recorded, that person joins only one of them. As a member of one of these organizations, the musician authorizes that organization to license the public performance of the music and collect fees for that use. Libraries may need a license from more than one of these organizations.
Most U.S. songwriters and composers join either the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Performers (ASCAP), or Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). They are the two major licensing organizations in the United States. Both provide low-cost licenses for governmental organizations. A third organization, SESAC, Inc. is relatively new in the United States. It licenses music that the other two organizations do not. All three organizations provide on-line databases of performers and titles covered so that you can ensure that the music you want to use is covered by the license you have purchased. If you use varied sources of music, you may need licenses from all three organizations, or you will need to be very selective in your music use!
Chances are good that your city or county already has a license if they offer dance classes at the recreation center, provide musical sing-alongs at the senior activity building, or hold regular outdoor parades or concerts. Check with your public information office, parks and recreation department, purchasing department, or the city or county legal department to see if a license exists and for which licensing organization. If none of these offices are aware of a license, then you can educate them about the need for one. If your city or county does not already have a license, fees are based on population. For a local government with a population of up to 50,000 people, a license would cost less than $275 a year based on a 2005 fee schedule for BMI.
There are several different types of “rights.” If you plan to include music on a video, web site, or in some other manner, please read about relevant licensing requirements or consult legal counsel. Note that the public performance of music via digital transmission (such as over the Web) implicates additional rights that these organizations cannot license. Although these three organizations license performance over the Web of the underlying musical score, it is also necessary to obtain permission to perform via digital transmission the sound recording itself. This is a very complex area of copyright law, so if you are considering making digital transmissions of music, check out How Stuff Works for some background, but you will probably need to obtain legal advice.
Many of the programs suggested in this manual include recommended videos or DVDs. In some cases, a specific segment is suggested for showing in the library during your program. If you do not have public performance rights to show the film, or the film is too long to show during your program, display the video or DVD for families to borrow.
Follow copyright law by using films, videos, or DVDs that are in the public domain or which you have purchased with public performance rights, or purchase a site license that allows the library to show "home use" videos. Some of the Texas Library Systems have negotiated pricing for System members, so check with your System office.
The cost of an annual movie license is based on the number of registered patrons and is often less expensive than purchasing public performance rights to show just a few movies. For example, an annual license for a library with 5,000 registered patrons costs about $250 and covers most movie studios, including Buena Vista Films and Dreamworks. The average cost per patron for a license to show movies for a year is about five cents. Contact Movie Licensing USA at www.movlic.com or call 1-888-267-2658 for details. Be sure to ask your Movie Licensing USA representative about discounts that may be available.
Many early comedies, horror films, and cartoons, like those featuring characters like The Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, and Betty Boop, may be in the public domain. Several businesses that sell public domain films provide lists of films that, to the best of their knowledge, are in the public domain. For example, although Desert Island Films does not sell VHS copies to individuals, you can use the list on their web site to check whether your library owns films that are free of copyright restrictions.
Libraries may also contract with KIDS FIRST! to supply films with public performance rights. KIDS FIRST! is a project of the Santa Fe-based Coalition for Quality Children's Media and is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization. The mission of KIDS FIRST! is to increase the visibility and availability of quality children's media and to teach children critical viewing skills. Through KIDS FIRST!, libraries can subscribe and receive quality children's films and DVDs throughout the year. KIDS FIRST! obtains titles and the public performance rights, reviews them to ensure that they comply with the KIDS FIRST! criteria, and supplies them to their library partners. The subscription service, priced at $300 in 2005, provides libraries with quarterly shipments of feature length films and shorts that include major studio and independent titles, literature-based titles, and documentaries. All films include public performance rights and, unlike with the movie license from Movie Licensing USA, you may publicize the titles of the films you will be showing. For a list of titles, or for additional information, please visit www.kidsfirst.org, or contact Ann Church, Senior Vice President Marketing, via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 505-989-8076.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires public libraries to make reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities so that they have access to the library building, programs, and materials. As you plan for the 2006 Texas Reading Club, remember that programs that work for children with disabilities will also work for all children. With a little planning, inexpensive adaptations, and the desire to be inclusive of all children, the Texas Reading Club will be accessible for children with disabilities. While it is the law, inclusiveness is good policy and encourages more participation in library programs.
Check with sign language classes and invite several students to practice what they have learned. Find out where in your community you can locate sign language interpreters in case you need to hire someone to interpret a program. Check with local schools for sign language interpreters. Often interpreters will volunteer their time in order to make library programs inclusive. Send special invitations to families with deaf children; the deaf community is very appreciative of efforts to include all children in programs and is very supportive of staff and volunteers who are willing to try signing. Create a display of captioned videos and books that include sign language.
The Talking Book Program (TBP), a division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), has a Disability Information and Referral Center (DIRC) that provides information about adaptive equipment, games and toys, support groups, the ADA, and serving people with disabilities. Questions are answered by DIRC staff or are referred to other appropriate sources. The DIRC can be reached toll-free at 1-800-252-9605 or 512-463-5458, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Talking Book Program is a joint state and federal program that provides unabridged books in alternate formats for Texans of all ages who are unable to read standard print materials due to visual, physical, or reading disabilities. The service is free to the user and available to all who qualify because they are unable to read standard print materials due to temporary or permanent visual or physical limitations.
A properly certified application must be submitted for each prospective patron verifying that the applicant meets one or more of the federal eligibility criteria.
The criteria are:
- A visual disability of sufficient severity to prevent the reading of standard print without the use of an aid other than prescription glasses;
- A physical disability that prevents the individual from holding a book or turning a page; or
- A reading disability that is physically based and of sufficient severity to prevent the reading of standard print material in a normal manner.
Applications submitted for individuals with reading disabilities must be certified by a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy. Applications submitted for individuals with other disabilities can be certified by a number of professionals in various fields related to health care, education, or rehabilitation, or by a professional librarian or library director.
TBP provides books on cassette tape, in Braille, and in large print. Special playback equipment is loaned free of charge for use with books on cassette. All materials are circulated to TBP patrons free of charge through the U.S. Postal Service.
Because TBP patrons are located throughout the state and interaction is limited to telephone and mail communications, TBP encourages younger patrons to participate in Texas Reading club activities sponsored by their local public library. TBP will provide the books in alternate formats so that young patrons with disabilities can participate in local programs.
Because library staff understand the importance of books in the lives of their patrons, they play a critical role in referring qualified individuals to the TBP services. Applications and brochures are available to keep in your library. By making this information available in your community and alerting eligible individuals about TBP, you are helping young readers with disabilities make the most of the Texas Reading Club!
Call or write TBP with your questions or requests for applications:
Talking Book Program
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
P.O. Box 12927
Austin, TX 78711-2927
1-800-252-9605 (toll-free in Texas)
512-463-5458 (Austin area)
Web site: www.tsl.texas.gov/tbp
Marketing is an important part of planning a successful program. There are often many events for children and families, even in the smallest communities. They may not know about the wonderful programs scheduled at the library. For a successful program, advertise, promote, and market in as many ways as possible. Promotion must be ongoing, consistent, reliable, and fresh. Promotion is not a one-time activity. Often people do not "pay attention" to publicity until they have a need to hear what you have to say, so make sure that your message is repeated time and time again. Even people who may never step foot into the library should still be aware of the library's programs and services.
Much of a library’s marketing efforts will focus on attracting an audience and ensuring that parents know about the programs. Marketing includes telling the story of the library and its programs. Word of mouth, especially to an audience already in the library, is the most effective marketing tool available. Enlist as many people as possible to tell the library’s story. Tell administrators and staff, funders, and support groups such as Friends of the Library about the interesting and successful programs so they can share the stories. Their stories may lead to additional and unanticipated opportunities.
As part of your public relations efforts, put together a media kit. This does not have to be elaborate but should include the following.
- Press releases
- Schedule of events
- Feature story about the Texas Reading Club
- Public service announcements for radio
- Publicity letters for newspapers, schools, and city officials
Press releases follow a standard format. For most media outlets, they do not need to be elaborate. Most community newspaper editors want "just the facts." Press releases must, however, include enough information to attract interest and sound newsworthy. What you write may encourage the editor to assign a reporter to cover your program, in which case the reporter will call for more details. In larger communities, the newspaper may only list the basic facts. Newspapers in small communities often print the entire press release as a "news" story and may even print a photograph if one is included. Digital photos are often acceptable if they are of high enough resolution to be useable. Review each newspaper’s policy about the required file format and resolution. Follow these tips for successful press releases.
Space in newspapers is usually limited. Learn each media outlet’s deadlines and send the press release on time or a little early. Generally, it’s first-come, first-served for available space, unless your press release attracts someone’s attention. Here are some guidelines for preparing press releases.
- Use simple sentences, straightforward language, and short paragraphs.
- Put the most important information first and include additional information further in the press release, to be used if space permits.
- Accuracy is important! Double-check spelling and grammar, the date and time of the event, the address, and the phone number. Ask someone to proofread your press release.
- Submit regular press releases for individual programs throughout the summer. A single press release for an entire series of programs may be overlooked or set aside by the target audience.
- Print your press release on library letterhead.
- Double-space all releases that are submitted on paper.
- Limit the release to one page or less.
- Attach a Texas Reading Club flyer to your press release.
- Include contact information so the media will know how to reach you for more information or to cover your program in more detail.
The first paragraph of a press release is the lead and it sets the stage for the message. Make your point quickly and grab the readers’ attention!
The 2006 Texas Reading Club, “Reading: The Sport of Champions!” provides opportunities for children of all ages to enjoy reading. It begins on June 5, 2006 at the Bluebonnet Public Library. This free program is co-sponsored by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and includes weekly reading activities and events.
Add details in the next paragraph and, if possible, include a human-interest angle or a quote. It is appropriate to “put words” in your director’s mouth by providing a quote.
"More than 200 children read for over 1000 hours last summer," said Library Director I. M. Reading. "This year we anticipate that the children of Bluebonnet will break that record and read for at least twice as many hours." Local school officials applauded the public library for its efforts to help local school children maintain and improve their reading skills.
Provide additional information, such as the library web site, phone number, hours, etc.
Information about the Texas Reading Club is available by calling 555-1234 and on the Library's web site, www.ippl.org. Programs will run through July 29, 2006. The Bluebonnet Public Library is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from noon to 6:00 p.m.
Add a headline at the top (Bluebonnet Kids are Reading Champs!) and put your contact information at the bottom of the press release. Date the press release and, if the information is for immediate publication, say so. “Embargoed” press releases request that information not be published before a certain date. Most libraries do not need to send embargoed press releases. Even though the press release may repeat some information, it is important to include all of the programs in case something is cut.
Check each media outlet's web site for deadlines, contact information, and other requirements, or call to get this information. Monthly publications have deadlines 6 to 8 weeks before the publication date. Most other venues prefer to receive information 10 to 14 days in advance. While timeliness is essential, it is not a good idea to send your press release too early as it might be misplaced or discarded.
Most newspapers, radio stations, and television outlets now accept press releases via e-mail or fax. This saves time and postage. Prepare the press release on stationary if it will be faxed. If it will be sent via e-mail, you should still write the release in letter style. Do not send your press release as an attachment, as some e-mail services will not accept them and your message may be ignored or returned.
If you address a press release to a specific individual, it is important to spell the person's name correctly. If you send your press release to more than one media outlet, it is not necessary to personalize each press release. If you use e-mail and are sending the same press release to several outlets, blind carbon them, or hide the e-mail addresses by using your e-mail software’s list function. This will prevent a long list of addresses from taking up the first screen of your message. This also prevents the editor from seeing he or she is not a unique recipient.
Don’t overlook smaller newspapers, specialty papers (such as The Greensheet), and neighborhood association newsletters. Especially in larger communities, these media outlets may welcome your publicity and their readership may reach new markets for the library. If you do not know all of the local newspapers in your community, you will find many of them on Newslink. You may look for local business newspapers, alternative and specialty journals, college publications, and ethnic newspapers on this web site. Many communities have Spanish-language or Hispanic cultural publications, weekly newspapers for the African-American community, and publications for other community groups. For example, college newspapers will reach married students and single parents. Austin Public Library regularly submits information about library programs to a publication called The Good Life. It is aimed at "older" adults but many readers are non-custodial parents or grandparents who may be looking for children's activities. Ask your local television or radio station to be a media sponsor for the Texas Reading Club.
Let your Friends of the Library, city or county officials, and staff and volunteers know about the Texas Reading Club. They will be some of your best sources for word-of-mouth marketing and may be willing to include information in their church newsletter, company e-mail, or other publicity venues.
Another outlet for free publicity is the community events or calendar section of media web sites. Most television stations, newspapers, radio stations, and official city or county web sites have calendars. Submit information about library programs about two weeks in advance. Submit information to local cable television stations. Many run community information bulletins.
If you are not currently taking digital photographs, consider doing so. They are inexpensive to print and you print only what is needed. Many drug stores and one-hour photo labs can produce high quality prints for less than fifty cents. Many newsletters will accept electronic photographs to print with a story. They also make great “thank you” gifts for sponsors and donors. Kodak offers on-line tutorials and tips for digital photography at its www.kodak.com. Click on “Consumer Photography” and select “Taking Great Pictures.”
Public relations and marketing is a cumulative process. It cannot be done just one time. Submit press releases consistently and regularly. Talk with the media contacts and solicit their support as co-sponsors of your program. Thank them for past support, even if it was not as much as you would have liked. Suggest feature stories that highlight your library, your programs, and the Texas Reading Club. Feature stories to suggest might include any of the following.
- “The Sport of Champions” programs for children and families
- Kick-off parties and special events
- End of summer celebrations
- Multi-cultural programs (bilingual storytimes, programs that celebrate cultural heritage)
- Teen volunteers
- Audio book suggestions for family trips
For more information about publicity, read Marketing the Texas Reading Club, available on the Texas State Library and Archives Commission web site.
Cooperation with Schools
One of the most effective methods for increasing participation in the Texas Reading Club is through partnerships with local schools. The Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association, offers a compilation of ideas and information on-line at its School/Public Library Cooperative Programs web site.
Ask school librarians and teachers to encourage students to join the reading program. If possible, visit the schools and distribute information about the library. Begin planning school visits as early as possible in order to promote your summer program before the school year ends. Write a letter to the district superintendent in February. Remind the superintendent that public libraries and schools are natural allies in education. Specifically request permission to contact the schools and ask the superintendent to endorse the library's reading program.
As soon as you receive permission to do so, contact the principals or school librarians. Write to the librarian or teachers to schedule school visits in April and/or May. School visits can be brief and simple or they can be longer programs, depending on the amount of time and staff available. At a minimum, let the students know who you are, that the library is planning free summer programs and activities for them, and that you look forward to seeing them in the library. If time permits, tell a story, share some jokes, present a puppet show, sing songs, or lead a simple craft related to the Texas Reading Club theme. Leave bookmarks or flyers for the students to take home and leave a poster at the school with the dates of your program. The school librarian may be very happy to display the poster in the library.
Ask teachers, especially kindergarten through second grade teachers, to discuss the importance of summer reading with parents at the final parent-teacher conference. Teachers have a great deal of influence with parents and their recommendation will often encourage parents to follow through with summer reading. Keep in mind that the last parent-teacher meeting is usually held in March, so start early. Even if you only know the start and end dates for your Summer Reading Program, provide a “teaser” flyer that lets parents know how to get more information. If possible, upload a copy of your summer reading program flyer on your library’s web site, making it easy for teachers to download, print, and distribute. It is easy to create a pdf file or Word document for the web.
Ask if the school will be conducting summer classes or providing summer childcare. Teachers and activity leaders are often eager to cooperate on entertaining projects that support learning. School librarians may wish to become outreach sites for your reading club. Children attending summer school or participating in school camps or childcare become a "captive" audience for your programs.
Remember to contact private schools. Many require their students to read during the summer and the Texas Reading Club can help make that requirement more enjoyable and fulfilling. Childcare centers and preschools are also often looking for opportunities to collaborate with the library. Children can participate in the Texas Reading Club by recording titles of books that are read to them or that they read at the childcare center. Schedule group visits to the library or bring library programs to the centers. Provide outreach collections, or encourage childcare providers to apply for teacher’s cards.
Contact information is provided below for the suppliers specifically mentioned in this manual, as well as for suppliers that carry some of the materials required for crafts and programs. Keep in mind that the materials recommended, or a suitable substitute, are often available locally.
- Art Supplies Online
718 Washington Ave. North
Minneapolis MN 55401 1-800-967-7367
- Avery Office Products
50 Pointe Drive
Brea, CA 92821 1-800-462-8379
- Carson-Dellosa Publishing Co.
PO Box 35665
Greensboro, NC 27425-5665 1-800-321-0943
P.O. Box 3239
Lancaster, PA 17604 1-800-631-5652
P.O. Box 7488
Madison, WI 53707-7488 1-800-356-1200
- Dick Blick Art Materials
P.O. Box 1267
Galesburg, IL 61402-1267 1-800-828-4548
- Discount School Supply WWW
P.O. Box 7636
Spreckels, CA 93962 1-800-627-2829
219 Park Avenue
Emeryville, California 94608 510-658-7677
- Guildcraft Arts and Crafts
100 Fire Tower Drive
Tonawanda, NY 14150-5812 1-800-345-5563
P.O. Box 18699
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118 1-800-727-5437
- Kipp Toys and Novelties
9760 Mayflower Park Drive
Carmel, IN 46032 1-800-428-1153
8000 Bent Branch Dr.
Irving, TX 75063 1-800-642-4235
- Oriental Trading Company
P.O. Box 2308
Omaha, NE 68103-2308 1-800-875-8480
- P & T Puppet Theatre
232 East Acacia Street
Salinas, CA 93901 831-754-2411
- Puppets on the Move
12005 - 140th St. Court East
Puyallup, WA 98374 253-840-0741
- Rhode Island Novelties
19 Industrial Lane
Johnston, RI 02919 1-800 528-5599
- S and S Worldwide
PO Box 513
75 Mill Street
Colchester, CT 06415 1-800-243-9232
- Sax Craft Supplies
2725 S. Moorland Rd.
New Berlin, WI 53151 1-800-558-6696
- Sherman Specialties
114 Church Street
Freeport, NY 11520 1-800-669-7437
P.O. Box 2543
Spartanburg, SC 29304 1-800-825-8085
W5527 State Road 106
P.O. Box 800
Fort Atkinson, WI 53538-0800 1-800-448-4887