Gold Medal Gala introduces Library’s Literacy Initiatives

Post date: Thursday, March 13, 2014 - 9:39am

Waukegan Public Library celebrates its 2013 Institute of Museum and Library Services

National Medal with a silent auction and dinner

It has been almost one year since it was announced that the Waukegan Public Library was a prestigious Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) National Medal winner. To celebrate, the Library will host a Gold Medal Gala on Saturday, April 26 at 5:30 p.m. at Glen Flora Country Club in Waukegan, Illinois. The Gala will include a silent auction to benefit new and existing literacy initiatives at the library.

The evening will begin with a cocktail reception where guests will have a chance to mingle and bid on silent auction items. The cocktail reception will be followed by a plated dinner and a program that briefly introduces “Literacy 2020”, the Library’s plan to increase literacy levels by 25 percent by the year 2020.

The event also features special guest speaker Robert B. Barnett, leading attorney for premier authors, government officials, and major corporations. Barnett graduated from Waukegan Township High School in 1964 and is now ranked Number One on Washingtonian magazine’s list of “Washington’s Best Lawyers” and as one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by The National Law Journal. He was also named one of the one hundred most powerful people in the entertainment industry by Entertainment Weekly Magazine.

For me, the Waukegan Public Library meant Story Hour on Saturday mornings at the Carnegie Building on Sheridan, getting a library card and having access to books, the Bookmobile at the shopping plaza on Lewis Avenue in summer, and, most of all, the wonder, adventure, delight, and inspiration found in books,” said Barnett. “I am thrilled to be returning to the place where I discovered my love of reading.”

The Gala is being planned by the Waukegan Public Library Foundation Board, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which encourages voluntary financial support for the Waukegan Public Library. The purposes of the Foundation include focusing public attention on library services, facilities and needs in the Waukegan area.

The gala is a culminating celebration of Waukegan Public Library’s historic accomplishments, however, it’s also a collaborative initiative for the Foundation Board to continually support and prepare the citizens of Waukegan for 21st Century learning by promoting early learning, the campaign for grade level reading, college and career readiness, the creation of a dynamic workforce, and life-long learners. Our investment in this community is clearly targeted and worthy of a celebration,” said Verna Wilson, Foundation Board and Gala committee member and District Literacy Coordinator for Waukegan Public Schools.

“The ability to read affects everything from graduation rates to employment as well as crime, health care, and our overall standard of living. At the library, we are committed to creating a community of readers with our ‘Path to Learning and Literacy’. When our residents are successful, our city will be successful,” said Richard Lee, Executive Director of Waukegan Public Library.

Ticket prices are $100 for individuals and $800 for a table of eight with available program advertisement opportunities. The library is also looking for donations of silent auction items. For information on how to purchase tickets or become a sponsor through donations or advertisements, please contact Kim Vander Yacht at (847) 623-2041, ext. 244 or kvyacht [at] waukeganpl [dot] info or you can go to the event webpage.

Free Women's Health Screenings at Waukegan Public Library

Post date: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 - 11:28am

On Sunday, March 23, the Waukegan Public Library will present a Women’s Health Fair featuring informational booths and free health screenings on a variety of health topics. The Fair is sponsored by Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science (RFUMS), the Franklin Fellowship Program, and the Library and offers RFUMS medical students hands-on experience in patient-centered care. The Fair will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Information on topics from physical fitness to breast cancer will be available from RFUMS student groups, Lake County community organizations, and the library’s own Affordable Care Act navigators and literacy staff. Medical students will offer free blood pressure checks, cholesterol and blood sugar analysis, osteoporosis screenings, breast cancer exams, vision checks and more. Health information will be available on depression and anxiety, heart attacks, nutrition, domestic abuse, and other pertinent women’s issues. ACA information will be available for those who still need to sign up for insurance by the March 31 deadline.

This Franklin Fellowship project was created because I saw two needs,” said Natalie Dale, RFUMS medical student and creator of the Women’s Health Fair. “First, the need in the community for increased understanding and awareness of women’s health issues and local resources. Second, the need of RFUMS students to connect in an interprofessional way, both within the school and with the community at large. The Women’s Health Fair provides an avenue for students to learn about women’s health in this interdisciplinary setting, while simultaneously increasing access to health care for women in need in Waukegan. For me, this fair is the ultimate win-win situation.”

Dale decided to create the fair after realizing that women’s health was an area that merited greater attention. With that in mind, she founded the Women’s Health Interest Group (WHIG), along with three other medical students.  The goal of WHIG is to promote an understanding of women’s health, through service as well as awareness events, so that every health care professional knows how to promote women’s health in their own profession or specialty. “This is a cause which I hold very dear, and will continue to work on throughout my career,” said Dale.

This will be the first women’s health fair at the Waukegan Public Library. The fair is free and open to the public and information is available in both English and Spanish. For more information, call Rena Morrow at (847) 623-2041, ext. 231.

Elizabeth Martin Stearns & Carmen Patlan | Movers & Shakers 2014 — Innovators

Post date: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 - 4:23pm

Posted in Library Journal March 11, 2014

Library Ambassadors

Elizabeth Stearns (l.) began looking for someone to help the Waukegan Public Library, IL, connect with the local Latino community out of necessity. She had worked at the library through two censuses and saw that by 2010 Latinos made up more than half of the city’s population. “We would not stay relevant if we did not reach this community,” says Stearns.

She knew it would be a challenge. Many people did not speak English well or at all. Rates of poverty and illiteracy were high.

Stearns says she tried a few public relations campaigns but soon realized she needed someone from within the Latino community to do outreach. In 2011, she found Carmen Patlan, who was then the Human Concerns Director at a majority-Latino Catholic church with more than 5,000 members.

Patlan had no library experience but had been a longtime advocate for a community that she says “often feels voiceless.” Stearns and Patlan discovered that, together, they could accomplish a lot.

“Anyone who has seen them work together knows that is how they work best,” says Peggy Barber, a library consultant and former long-standing communications director at the American Library Association, who nominated the duo.

Patlan quickly generated a “tsunami of use” by Latinos, says Barber. Far from just creating a few ESL classes, Patlan helped expand library services to include the “Social Worker Is In” one-on-one counseling, computer literacy classes, health programming, and Leamos, a self-taught Spanish literacy program.

Patlan understood that her job was not just to create programming; she also had to change the attitudes of Latino immigrants toward the library.

“To immigrants, unless you came from a wealthy family with access to schooling, libraries are not viewed as accessible or relevant to their needs,” says Patlan. “They think of libraries as librerías, or bookstores, which they can’t afford.”

Much of the library’s success in reaching Latinos has come from the Promotora/Ambassador volunteer program, which empowers individuals with strong ties to their communities to help raise awareness around the issues that affect them. “Social media and all the technology tools will never replace actually engaging with your constituents on an ongoing basis,” says Stearns.

Last year, Stearns and Patlan won the library the prestigious National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Now, the two women want to create a training institute to help libraries across the country replicate their programs.

“We discovered that it is not enough to know your customer is Latino, or whether they speak English and have a library card,” Patlan says. “You need to know how they feel about their children’s education, what their job and family aspirations are, and what worries them daily.”