Rahm’s Readers Race to the Top!

Race to the Top–that’s the federal program to give grant money to the states for early childhood education. You can read about it here, and give input, which many of you are very qualified to do:  Race to the Top blog.

Libraries have been doing storytimes for what, 80 years? These days, most public libraries are focusing lots of their attention and efforts on making Every Child Ready to Read.  They should be working hand-in-hand with us in the library world, but they’re not.

Likewise, Chicago’s energetic new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, has announced his new reading campaign, Rahm’s Readers.  Sound a little familiar? Like, maybe a summer reading club? Something the Chicago Public Library and most other public libraries have been doing very successfully for decades?

Now, of course, I sound ungrateful. Whiny, even. These are both good programs! We should be happy that politicians are focusing their attention on helping kids learn the skills they will need. And I am happy. Happyish. But it is very frustrating that we seem to be so ineffective at getting the message out to them that they already have the infrastructure in place for running great childhood education/literacy programs, and that is the amazing public library system. Use us. Partner with us. Help us get our resources into the hands of the public–we’ll take it from there!

Libraries, though, need to really take a close look at this kind of thing and ask ourselves the hard question–why DON’T they think of us?

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2 Responses to Rahm’s Readers Race to the Top!

  1. Jan Murphy says:

    Maybe because this is really all about Rahm. I say you pop off a note to his administration and reiterate exactly what you’ve said here. Better yet, do it in a letter to the editor of the Tribune or mention to a well-placed reporter.

    • sdlempke says:

      Jan, you’re exactly right. Remember when we started at CPL and everything they handed out was labeled “Jane Byrne’s”? It was Jane Byrne’s Celtic Fest and Jane Byrne’s Flower and Garden Show. Daley didn’t really need to do that, but maybe Rahm does to put his stamp on things.

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