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Aurora Public Library's New Early Literacy Center

Post by Crystal N.

The Aurora Central Library Youth Services Department is pleased to announce the grand opening of the Early Literacy Center (ELC). The ELC is a dedicated room with three advanced graphical interface computer stations that have touch screens for little fingers to explore and develop essential pre-reading skills. Called “AWE” stations, these computers offer multilingual formats. The design of the jungle themed ELC was inspired by the five new learning areas from Every Child Ready to Read @ your library (2nd Edition): Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing and Playing. In addition to the AWE stations, the ELC has children’s art work, educational toys, adult computers, children’s books and a fun mini-play and crafting area. The ELC provides a vibrant, literacy rich space to help young children explore a world of colors, animals, letters, numbers, sounds, objects, shapes, textures and books. “What is especially exciting about the ELC,” says Children’s Librarian Crystal Niedzwiadek, “is that it offers a great space for caregivers to do their online work such as school assignments or job applications while simultaneously offering their small children a safe place to ‘be kids’”.

It’s only been two weeks since the opening of the ELC, and APL staff has received many positive comments about the room (for instance, “This is AWESOME!”). Young families that previously were forced to use the adult area love having their own space at the library. The room is VERY popular, particularly after story time. There are two challenges with maintaining the ELC so far: Keeping the toys in order and managing fairness on the adult computers. We have already lost some toys, but we are working on educating parents by giving tours of the room to highlight our “rules”:

1.       Children must be supervised by an adult at all times.

2.       The Early Literacy computers are for ages 7 & under. 

3.       Adult Computers are for ages 18 and older.

4.       Please put all toys and craft supplies away when you are finished.

5.       Please be sure to use your best “library manners”:

  • Be courteous and kind to others
  • Handle items with care
  • Use your inside voice

Central Library staff will offer early literacy classes to parents using the new Every Child Ready to Read @ your library curriculum sometime in 2012. The Aurora Public Library would like to thank the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant for funding the computers for this new center. Please contact Crystal Niedzwiadek at 303-739-6746 if you would like a tour of the ELC.

Check out this Google+ photo album for pictures of the ELC!

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