Library Launches Literacy Initiatives | Public Spaces

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Library Launches Literacy Initiatives
Public Spaces


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Public Library today launches both its new microsite Link Up to Literacy and its Summer Reading programs Dream Big—Read! and Own the Night. Combined, these programs offer tools to help families combat literacy issues facing Duval County children from birth to 18.

Link Up to Literacy (birth to age 5)

Many children in Duval County face literacy challenges. Research indicates early literacy skills established prior to kindergarten contribute to future success in school. All the tools parents need to develop their children’s potential for success are at the library. Since the library is an integral component of education and a community resource, a team of library staff developed a website that serves as a primer for early literacy with resources as close as a computer and a neighborhood library.

The microsite located within offers early literacy tools to parents of children from birth to age 5. The site offers videos of songs and fingerplays with printable lyrics, recommended reading lists, literacy milestones and additional resources. For parents without Internet access, the library offers public computers at every location. JPL early literacy experts offer storytime programs at many branches to supplement the online resources. The Link Up to Literacy site may be accessed directly at

“A child’s learning experiences start from birth, and there is no better time to begin reading and talking with your child,” said Jacksonville Public Library Early Childhood Specialist Susan Mankowski. “Reading books and singing songs together are natural ways for your child to learn language, as well as a wonderful way to play and bond.

This website makes it easy for Jacksonville parents to connect with local resources and programs to develop the skills they need to be their child’s first teacher.” 

The Jacksonville Public Library hosts regularly scheduled early literacy programs at many locations complementing the new online resources. These programs include Mother Goose Storytime, Toddler Time, Preschool Storytime, and Family Storytime. Talk to your librarian or visit and click on “Featured Programs.”

  • JPL Summer Reading Programs
  • Dream Big - Read! (Elementary school age)
  • Own the Night (Tweens and teens)

Developing readers who don’t continue to read over the summer break, especially at-risk and reluctant readers, are likely to lose as much as 25 percent of their reading level over the summer, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Summer Learning. In fact, this loss is cumulative, so by the time high school is reached, a student could be years behind grade-level standards and their peers. JPL offers a solution that is fun, free and fights off the “Summer Slide,” as this reading loss is sometimes called. Studies suggest that children who read as few as six books over the summer maintain their reading level. Allowing children to choose their books can help reluctant readers regain or develop an enjoyment of reading.

Dream Big—Read!  and  Own the Night are nine-week reading programs running from June 1 through August 7, designed to help children and teens, ages 5 – 18, maintain the literacy skills they acquired during the school year. These themed programs offer a variety of activities in a relaxing and fun learning environment, and encourage the enjoyment of books, contests, music and crafts.

Dream Big—Read!  includes performances by the Hampstead Stage Company, Curious Moon Puppets and PBS children’s award-winning performer, Kevin Roth. Ron Anglin will amaze and educate children ages 5 – 11, with club juggling and storytelling techniques. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens will give demonstrations about animals and their habitats at multiple library locations. In addition, the Jacksonville Suns will hold Library Night on Sunday, August 5. Children under 12 who show their library card will receive a free general admission ticket.

Own the Night offers ongoing programs including Movie Madness, Wii games, Anime Club, murder mysteries and drawing tutorials. Crafts are also featured as part of the ongoing programs, and include friendship bracelets, duct tape projects, origami, braided headbands and t-shirt transformation bags.

Families are invited to watch the Seventh Annual Battle of the Bands competition on June 23 at 1 p.m. as local teens show off their musical chops live on stage. Teens ages 12-18 are also invited to volunteer for 10 hours at any library and then submit a short story for the Own the Night 2012 Summer Short Story Contest for a chance to win $300. Additionally, the Teen Summer Art Contest is a great way for teens to express their creativity while earning the chance to win a gift certificate to Reddi Arts.

Children and teens in the Summer Reading Program can earn a free book just by registering online at and logging the books read. To be eligible, children from birth to 11 must read at least 10 books and children 12 to 18 must read at least six books. After Aug. 1 print out the book log on the registration site and show it to a librarian to pick out a free book. Limit one book per child, while supplies last.

For more information on the library’s Summer Reading Program or to get a copy of the guide, visit or your nearest library location.

The Jacksonville Public Library is committed to making its programs accessible to all persons. If you need special accommodations, please call 630-BOOK (2665) (TTY 630-1999) at least 72 hours prior to the event.  

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