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Three states, two library systems selected for national expansion of PRIME TIME family reading program

PRIME TIME Inc., an affiliate of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH), in cooperation with the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, selected public libraries in Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma and New York to participate in the national expansion of the LEH's award-winning family reading and discussion program, PRIME TIME FAMILY READING TIME®. National expansion of PRIME TIME at these libraries will target Spanish-speaking families and is made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which also supported earlier grants for implementation in Louisiana and initial national expansion.

In New Jersey, the state library will direct the partnership with the public libraries. In Florida and Michigan, the Florida Humanities Council and the Michigan Humanities Council, respectively will direct the partnership with the public libraries. The Pioneer Public Library System in Oklahoma will direct the project with their branch libraries and in New York, the Queens Borough Public Library will direct the partnership with their branch libraries.

Of the eleven states and library systems that applied to host the program, three states and two library systems - representing 18 community libraries - were chosen to participate.

The three states selected (4 libraries each) are:

  • Florida - Pinellas Public Library Cooperative, Clearwater; Bruton Memorial Library, Plant City; Hendry County Library Cooperative, Clewiston; Barron Library, LaBelle.
  • Michigan - Butman-Fish Branch, Saginaw; Campbell Branch Library, Detroit; Hoyt Public Library, Saginaw; South Haven Memorial Library, South Haven.
  • New Jersey - Princeton Public Library, Princeton; Parsippany-Troy Hills Public Library System, Parsippany; Kearny Public Library, Kearny; Paterson Free Public Library, Paterson.

The two library systems selected (3 libraries each) are:

  • Pioneer Public Library System (Oklahoma) - Moore Public Library, Moore; Norman Public Library, Norman; Purcell Public Library, Purcell.
  • Queens Borough Public Library (New York) - Langston Hughes Community Library, Corona; Ravenswood Family Literacy Center, Long Island City; Woodside Community Library, Woodside.

Based on illustrated children's books, PRIME TIME is designed to help low-income, low-literate families, including English language learners, bond around the act of reading and talking about books. It models and encourages family reading and discussion of humanities topics, and aids parents and children in selecting books and becoming active public library users. PRIME TIME received the 2003 Advancement of Literacy award from the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the ALA, and the Coming Up Taller award from the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in 2000.

Selected states will receive grant funding and support materials to present the PRIME TIME series at four sites, and selected library systems will receive support to present PRIME TIME at three branch locations. Each series will meet once a week for six weeks at participating libraries. Through a discussion leader and a storyteller, children ages 6 to 10 years and their parents or guardians will hear classic children's stories; watch reading aloud demonstrations; discuss humanities themes in each book and learn about library resources and services. At each site, bilingual programs will be offered to serve Spanish-speaking children and their families. Younger siblings, ages 3 to 5 years, will participate in separate pre-reading activities.

PRIME TIME is based on a successful series of the same name that was created by the LEH in 1991 at the East Baton Rouge (La.) Parish Library and has spread nationwide with funding from NEH. Over 24,000 individuals have participated in more than 750 PRIME TIME programs in 36 states and the Virgin Islands.

For more information about PRIME TIME, please visit www.leh.org or www.ala.org.