• By Don Dwiggins
  • Posted Friday, February 5, 2016

Making a Difference in Young Lives Through Children's Outreach

As hard as it might seem to believe the only real exposure some kids in our community have to the Library is either through a storytime program at their daycare facility or a visit to their neighborhood by our Bookmobile.

Children’s Outreach provides extension services for children from birth through age 18. Adult Outreach staff go out into the community visiting daycare centers providing storytimes and our popular music and movement programs to preschool children.

Staff also provides valuable information to daycare workers about how to share age appropriate books and materials with preschool children.

“Our main focus is providing library materials to children and their adult caregivers who would not necessary use our services,” says Yolanda Bolden, Manager of Outreach Services. “We have five staff members who go out into the community visiting daycares then we have a bookmobile that goes out into the community after school and another person who works in our two youth mini-libraries.

Children’s Outreach has been around for 30 years, starting off as a Federally funded program designed to bring people to the library who ordinarily would not come. From this beginning It grew into Children’s Outreach.

Representing the Llibrary as a valued service and resource is a top goal of Children’s Outreach and their reach in the community is quite extensive. “We serve a majority of day care centers in the county, we’ve done programs at YMCA’s, Salvation Army Boys and Girls Clubs, schools, a lot of neighborhoods in the downtown area of Winston-Salem and some in the outer areas of the county and recreations centers,” says Bolden.

Children’s Outreach staff also offer a unique perspective on how neighborhoods change over time and subsequently adjusting their focus as needed. “We’re the first to see when communities change,” says Bolden. “One year they may be thriving and the next year not so much with families and children having moved away. Then it’s my job to go out and find other communities with families and children in need of our services.”

Bookmobile service is still an integral part of Children’s Outreach despite the anachronistic image some think it portrays. The Bookmobile goes out daily, Monday-Friday from 3 pm to 5:30 pm visiting about 10 to 15 different sites each week. Bolden believes bookmobiles still hold a valued place in today’s world. “Even today when people say that kids have more access to things via their mobile phones there is still that a ha moment when someone gives a kid a book they’re interested in or they didn’t know it was there and they say ’this is exactly what I wanted’”

Getting on the schedule for Children’s outreach requires completing an application that is sent out each May to every licensed daycare and homecare facility in Forsyth County. Applications are thoroughly reviewed by staff prior to being entered into a lottery held to select winning facilities.

For more information on the Library’s Children’s Outreach services contact Yolanda Bolden at 703-2951.

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