Fort Worth Library renews focus on youth literacy

Posted Friday, Apr. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The Fort Worth Library and the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation are launching new initiatives aimed at improving youth literacy.

The city library system is teaming up with the Fort Worth school district and other organizations to expand its summer reading program into a year-round initiative. The "Worth Reading" program hopes to boost literacy rates, decrease school dropout rates and improve academic achievements by encouraging people to read every day.

"We think it's important to extend our successful summer reading program beyond its traditional three months," library director Gleniece Robinson said in a news release. "Strong readers are essential to Fort Worth's future, and strong readers are created by reading 365 days a year."

The program, which had 6,902 participants last summer, will run in continuous four-month cycles and will feature storytelling, workshops, movies and special events at libraries and partner locations. At the end of each cycle, the library will host a Worth Reading celebration featuring music, crafts and storytelling.

As part of its 20th anniversary gift to libraries, the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation is starting a new fundraising campaign that also focuses on youth and teen services, said President and CEO Betsy Pepper.

The majority of the funds will be dedicated to the Central Library, but the foundation also plans to raise $5,000 for 15 other facilities. The foundation raised nearly $5 million to expand and enhance the Central Library in 1999.

The bulk of the fundraising effort will go toward renovating the Hazel Harvey Peace Youth Center at the Central Library.

"The space is 14 years old and the building is wonderful, but library services have changed dramatically in that short period of time. We want to refresh and re-invent portions of the youth center. The biggest piece will be the conversion of the Amon Carter Media Center, which will become the Teen Center," Pepper said.

Total costs won't be determined until architectural plans are completed, she said.

"The focus is youth literacy. We all know that if a child can't read by the time they are 8 years old, that is a crisis for that child."

www.wr365.org

www.fwlibraryfoundation.org

Steve Campbell, 817-390-7981

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