Rhonda Moore As members of the Douglas County Library’s fledgling literacy department prepare for the inaugural literacy summit, organizers hope …
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As members of the Douglas County Library’s fledgling literacy
department prepare for the inaugural literacy summit, organizers
hope the community gets on board to bring lifelong learning to the
The Douglas County Literacy Summit is touted as the first step
to introduce literacy that goes beyond the ABCs and reaches into
life skills and enrichment.
The Douglas County literacy department is new to the library,
with an outreach that began in 2008. In its first year out of the
gate, the literacy department brought county residents the GED
program, English as a Second Language, Spellbinders — a
storytelling opportunity in which seniors share life stories with
area youth — and a book club for inmates of the Douglas County
The literacy summit is an extension of the department’s efforts
to reach out to residents who might not see the library as part of
a community support system. Organizers envision that support system
as a resource that extends far beyond the library walls.
The summit aims to establish a core group of literacy providers
that will become part of a network for literacy skills within the
community, said Molly Elkins, literacy specialist, Douglas County
Library. Elkins and her counterpart Priscilla Queen seek those
providers who share their vision that lifelong learning and overall
literacy is the foundation of a stronger society.
“We’re thinking about literacy in a broader sense than just
reading and writing. We’re thinking health literacy, financial
literacy, technological literacy,” Elkins said. “Things that will
help members of our community to become more self-sustaining. Basic
tools to build success.”
For the first summit, the library invited teachers, business
owners, homeless prevention representatives and others who are in
contact with that part of the community with literacy needs. The
summit, however, is not limited to an invitation-only list.
The literacy summit is open to the public and organizers hope
others join in the effort to expand the traditional definition of
“We want to look at literacy in a broader sense. It’s really
about basic skills for a fullness of life,” Elkins said. “Being
able to handle technology, talk to your doctor, navigate the health
system, child rearing, developing reading skills. We are
encouraging families to develop a culture of reading and speaking
to your kids about your daily lives so children grow up talking
about finances, reading to each other and letting life skill
literacy be a part of daily life.”
Much of the information prepared for the summit was gathered
with the economic impact of literacy in mind, Queen said. Queen is
preparing a presentation on the value of early childhood quality
experiences and literacy for the workforce of the future.
“It’s important to ensure the whole community [is involved] to
make sure our kids get a good education and are our top notch
workers in 20 years,” Queen said. “Not to mention the adults who
are learning English and can get better jobs if they are literate
in speaking English.”
The Douglas Library Literacy Summit is from 8:30 a.m. to noon,
Sept. 19 at the Philip S. Miller Library, 100 South Wilcox Street
in Castle Rock. For more information, visit the library’s Web site
or call 303-791-READ(7323) and ask for the literacy department.
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