MAHONING VALLEY Head Start, libraries get on the same page to help kids

Grants are primarily awarded for projects that will have the greatest impact on a targeted population.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Several area library systems will join forces with Head Start this fall in a family literacy project funded through Library Services and Technology Act mini grants.
The project encompasses 15 library systems in Northeast Ohio, including six in the tri-county area -- Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, Kinsman Free Library, East Palestine, Leetonia and Lepper libraries, plus Kent State University's Salem campus.
The grant, $7,919, runs from April 1 through Aug. 31 and will cover the costs of training one librarian and one representative of Head Start from each of the sites in the "Mother Goose Asks Why?" and "You Can Count on Mother Goose" family literacy programs.
Both programs use picture books and stories to encourage children to explore other disciplines. "Mother Goose Asks Why?" is a science program; "You Can Count on Mother Goose" is a math program.
The grant will also provide two science and two math kits for each site. The kits include books and materials to complete math and science activities related to the preschool stories.
"This is a partnership between the libraries and Head Start," said Sue McCleaf Nespeca, who heads Kid Lit Plus Consulting, Youngstown.
Kid Lit wrote the grant.
Parents' involvement
"Librarians and Head Start partners will go for two days of training in September and then work with parents and children at the Head Start sites. Parents and children are also invited to the library so we can show them what the library has to offer," Nespeca said.
Parents can check the kits out, she added, so their children can work with the materials at home. "We feel it's a really good family literacy project. Parents are very important as reading models." This program, Nespeca said, helps children find fun ways to extend book reading.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services, which fosters innovation, leadership and lifetime learning, provides Library Services and Technology Act funds each year to the State Library of Ohio.
In turn, the State Library awards grants of up to $15,000 to regional library systems, public and academic libraries and school districts.
Grants are primarily awarded for projects that will have the greatest impact on a targeted population. Institutions requesting grants must provide cash matches of 25 percent for each project funded.

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