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 to bring their children to the library. It is important that librarians reach out to all youth, especially those who might otherwise not have opportunities for literature-related experiences. Librarians are encouraged to establish outreach programs for underserved children, including those with disabilities, those in families for which 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 library programs, or who may not have access to them. Librarians are encouraged to collaboratively sponsor reading clubs in locations throughout the community where children are during the day, such as childcare and Head Start centers, recreation centers, health clinics, housing projects, and other locations. Library staff may 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 ongoing partnerships with schools, children's museums, or recreation centers. Often local shopping malls, movie theaters, museums, and such sponsor summer “camps” that provide weekly activities for children. Contact the organization 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.
Research Related to Summer Reading
We all believe that summer reading is a good thing for children. Researchers have been studying the educational value and impact on 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 and additional studies have further defined the importance of public library summer reading programs. A few of her specific findings include:
- 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 online at www.statelibrary.state.pa.us/libraries/lib/libraries/Role%20of%20Libraries.pdf.
- 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 online at www.colapublib.org/about/Readingby.pdf.)
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 and hypothetical situation, public library summer reading programs 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
Every Child Ready to Read @ your library is a joint project of the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children, both divisions of the American Library Association. 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 early literacy skills children have when they enter school and their later academic performance. Every Child Ready to Read @ your libraryemphasizes 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 these suggested techniques to incorporate the six pre-reading skills into your storytimes during your Texas Reading Club programs and throughout the year. You will find additional suggestions for storytime applications on the ALA web site at www.ala.org/ala/alsc/ECRR/ecrrinpractice/storytimeapplications/StorytimeApplications.htm. 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. After you finish, 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. After you finish, 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. Let the children repeat the sound.
- Make nametags for the children to wear each week.
- Display posters and signs in the storytime room.
- Invite the children to play with letter puzzles after storytime.
- 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 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. Let the children repeat the word and briefly talk about its meaning again. Describe the word in context to the story.
- Connect new words to something the children may have experienced.
- Display objects or pictures representing new words.
- After you read a book or finish a flannel board story, 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 let the children say it each time you read the word, or have them repeat a refrain.
- Pull a book out of the storytime bag, have a big book placed 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, materials in manuals provided by the Texas State Library may be used in your library. 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 online at www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/pubs/index.html.
We don’t mean to rain on your parade, but several legal issues may affect your programs. 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 “lotería 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 lotería. 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 online 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 participants who play 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 at www.txbingo.org/export/sites/Bingo/Regulations_x_Statutes/Bingo_Enabling_Act/. Specifically, see Subchapter L. Enforcement, Sec. 2001.551. Unlawful Bingo; Offense.
According to the State of Texas Lottery Commission, 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 another game instead.
This section will discuss copyright primarily as it relates to public performance of music and videos in library programs and will 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 protected by copyright in library programs. 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.
Written works such as books, poetry, magazine articles, or jokes, music, and film, are considered creative property and are covered by copyright law unless they are in the public domain. All items are covered by copyright upon their creation by default, 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. A work may be in the public domain if:
- the term of copyright for the work has expired;
- the author failed to satisfy statutory formalities to perfect the copyright, or
- the work was created by 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 at www.copyright.cornell.edu/training/Hirtle_Public_Domain.htm 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 copyright. Copyright owners may specifically “license” certain kinds of free use, such as non-commercial or educational purposes. It’s 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 the 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, they have provided information on how to find the material recommended for the program. Whenever possible, links to clip art and patterns that can be freely used for non-commercial purposes in libraries are provided.
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 online tutorial on copyright at www.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 other library programs, you may wish 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, or the early literacy skills. Such “curriculums” would support an argument that the 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.
Recently a judge found that even karaoke played in a public place violated copyright. When a karaoke machine was set up by a disc jockey in a public place, an investigator for Broadcast Music, Inc., was in the audience. The business and the disc jockey were sued for violation of copyright because the business did not have the appropriate licenses.
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, www.pdinfo.com, 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 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 his or her 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) at www.ascap.com, or Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) at www.bmi.com. They are the two major licensing organizations in the United States. Both provide low-cost licenses for governmental organizations. A third organization, SESAC, Inc,. at www.sesac.com is relatively new in the United States. It licenses music that the other two organizations do not. All three organizations provide online databases of performers and titles covered so that you can ensure that what 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 it offers dance classes at the recreation center, provides musical sing-alongs at the senior activity building, or holds 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 at http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/music-licensing3.htm 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, such as 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 at www.desertislandfilms.com 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 insure 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 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.
Serving Children with Disabilities
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. In addition to being the law, inclusiveness is good policy and encourages more participation in library programs.
Check with local schools for sign language interpreters. 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. 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 application 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 understands 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