Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy took our mission of being “Passionately committed to strengthening children’s literacy through library services and community advocacy” one step further this year by creating four annual Mini Grants of $500. Sponsored by the CLEL Membership Committee, one of the requirements is that grant recipients must be members of CLEL. Fifteen applicants from across the country applied, proposing a wide range of creative projects to support early literacy in their communities.
Grant applications were evaluated for their alignment with CLEL’s mission, specifically a focus on early literacy, potential community impact and a prioritization of service to marginalized communities. After careful consideration, the CLEL Steering Committee voted for the projects we thought best fulfilled these selection criteria.
Congratulations to the recipients of the 2023 Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy Mini Grants:
Poudre River Public Library District / Angela Kettle
“The purpose of this grant is to provide each of our library locations and our Outreach department with “sensory kits” to make available to the public during our new “sensory storytimes,” as well as our standard storytimes and our other early childhood programs. We hope to make our storytimes accessible and welcoming to more children and families by providing items that assist both sensory-seeking and sensory-averse children, like noise-canceling headphones, fidget poppers, weighted lap pads, and more.”
Providence Public Library / Anne Kilkenny
“This grant will be used to provide seed money for a new play based maker program for children aged 3-6 and a caregiver. Once a month, for seven months, the library will host a weekend workshop that will provide children with opportunities to discover, explore, and experiment with a variety of materials in connection with high quality children’s books.”
Peterson Library (of Peterson Space Force Base) / Hannah Weaver
“The Peterson Library is hosting a “Read Across America” program for the Peterson Space Force Base, the Schriever Space Force Base, and the Cheyenne Mountain Base. This year’s program will be focused specifically on cultural diversity and representation in America. With this grant, we would be able to purchase culturally diverse picture books and manipulatives for the take home bags, ensuring that each of our families gets a bag to take home with a book they can take with them on their next change of station.”
Pueblo City County Library District / Kristi Roque
“The ultimate purpose of this grant would be to give youth a chance to build their literacy skills at home and at the library. The take and make kits and the building materials are ways that youth can experience activities that will increase their literacy skills in a fun way. These opportunities will give families who may not be able to afford craft and building materials access to them at the library.”
Grant-funded projects need to be completed by September 23, 2023, in time for the recipients to present their project and its impact on early literacy at a panel discussion at the Annual CLEL Conference in the Fall of 2023. Alternatively, recipients may submit a blog post about their experience.
We can’t wait to hear about the exciting things being done with grant funds and thank all applicants for their work advocating for our youngest readers! Want to know more about CLEL Mini Grants? Visit the Mini Grants page.