Jefferson County Library Foundation (JCLF) provides critical support to Jefferson County Public Library (JCPL), expanding free programs and services to all Jefferson County residents. Through public outreach, advocacy and fundraising JCLF strengthens JCPL and promotes greater awareness of its valuable resources and services, helping JCPL ensure free and equal access to information and great literature to all Jeffco residents.
JCLF funding has been focused on four programming areas:
Early Literacy does not mean early reading. Instead, Early Literacy refers to the language, comprehension, and writing skills that are intimately linked and simultaneously developed in a child’s first three years of life. Early literacy skills develop in real life settings through positive interactions with literacy materials and other people—making the library a perfect place to foster early literacy.
The importance of interaction in Early Literacy skill development is also why JCLF supports JCPL’s Early Literacy Playscapes. Playscapes are well-planned, creative environments that support learning and literacy by encouraging interactive and educational play. More importantly, they’re inviting places for families to hang out with little ones.
Proving once more that the library is more than a building, invaluable library resources are also brought to underserved kids in our community through the Kids & Families program. Kids & Families enhances the early reading experiences and skills of preschool children by delivering books and programs to Head Start, day care and early learning classrooms.
By providing a traveling children’s library, facilitated by a Kids & Families librarian, and a gift of books‑-in both English and Spanish–the program has continued its inclusive approach and commitment to serving economically disadvantaged families. In 2014, Kids & Families visited 18 Head Start and preschool classrooms, serving 270 at-risk children.
We live in an ever-changing world, where technology and computers shape our lives. Everything from paying taxes to shopping is done online, making digital and computer literacy a must. Our libraries work hard to ensure that every citizen has access to technology.
In 2013, Jefferson County Public Library (JCPL) launched the JCPL2go program, offering 200 internet-enabled devices capable of accessing eBooks, magazine, games, videos and the internet. A virtual library in a pocket with a check-out period of 3 weeks, the tablets were formatted for three audiences: children, teens and adults. In 2014, the tablets were checked out 1,358 times by library patrons. And with ever-expanding digital collections, JCPL2go can offer the world on a plate—or a tablet.
Of course, these tablets—along with any other JCPL resource—can be delivered right to a patron’s door through the Library2You program. This is an invaluable resource for our community seniors, who may lack in mobility, but not in the desire to keep learning.
Education is a lifelong process. From Early Literacy to adult education, our libraries offer programs that support learning at all ages.
Summer Reading keeps skills sharp, combatting the learning loss often suffered over the summer months. According to the National Summer Learning Association, all children experience learning loss over the summer when not engaged in educational activities, and this phenomenon disproportionality effects low-income children. That’s why our Summer Reading program is so important. This socially interactive program encourages parental engagement in reading, thereby creating solid literacy role-models while helping children and teens read throughout the summertime school gap without losing their skill level. Not only does Summer Reading reward participants with a fun, educational activity, but there are also tangible rewards, including free books, gift certificates and electronics.
JCPL also offers an array of adult education opportunities. Our computer classes offer everything from Introduction to PowerPoint and Excel to Basic of Digital Photography and Graphics. These skills can be further honed through our Adult Learning Center, where patrons can get live, one-on-one-help from trained professionals, in either English or Spanish, every day from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. The help doesn’t end there. The Adult Learning Center also offers a collection of a practice tests and a writing lab, offering an incredible opportunity to adults looking to build new skills.
Our libraries work diligently to create new programs. We’re especially excited about LibLab, a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics (STEAM)-inspired, interactive learning experience for kids grade 1-6, and the Teen Coding Camp, which takes computer literacy into the stratosphere on the wings of html.
It’s often said that one can discover the world within the walls of a library. With the Culture Pass, patrons can also discover the world outside their library. The Culture Pass offers great cultural opportunities to anyone with a Jeffco library card. With one click on the JCPL website, free reservations can be made to visit any one of Jeffco’s participating cultural centers, like the Denver Firefighter’s Museum, Dinosaur Ridge, Foothills Art Center and Golden’s history museums (just to name a few).
Patrons can also get a good dose of culture inside the library—especially when they attend a Swank movie event. The Swank Movie License is the coolest way to see the latest films—at the library. The JCLF paid a licensing fee of $4,000 to purchase the license, which allows unlimited screenings of the latest films at our libraries. Our Belmar, Arvada, Columbine, Conifer, Evergreen, Lakewood and Standley Lake branches offer a range of films that appeal to all ages. From early-school-release matinees to after-hours adult nights, our libraries have used the license to attract new patrons and offer great community entertainment.