The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

October 4, 2013

'Bookworms' receive $2,000 grant

By Kim West
kwest@athensnews-courier.com

— The popular Beginning Bookworms program at the Athens-Limestone Public Library received a boost from a $2,000 Target grant announced Tuesday by the ALPL Foundation.

“We are grateful for this Target funding, which will provide materials to instill early literacy skills with 4- and 5-year-olds,” said Kelli McLemore, youth services librarian and Bookworms coordinator.

The free Bookworms class meets for one hour on Thursday mornings from August to May, with sign-ups in the summer. Enrollment, which costs $15 per semester, is restricted to 15 students due to space constraints in the present library at 405 E. South St., said McLemore.

She said participants in the program, which began in 2011, receive a jump-start to being prepared for their first year of school. Students practice the alphabet, review colors and numbers and talk about topics such as the weather.

“The focus of Beginning Bookworms is on kindergarten readiness, so each child will be confident and successful when they start school,” she said. “The students do a lot of group work, and they learn different kindergarten readiness skills such as taking turns, sharing, being around other children and learning to listening to an adult other than their parents.”

Target officials said the grant is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to donate 5 percent of its profits, with more than $4 million funneled back weekly to communities nationwide.

“At Target, we are committed to serving local communities where we do business,” said Laysha Ward, a spokeswoman for Target. “That’s why we are proud to partner with the Athens-Limestone Public Library Foundation as we work to strengthen communities and enrich the lives of our guests and team members.”

The ALPL Foundation raises funds for capital improvements and operation, helping fulfill the library’s mission “to enrich the lives of all people in the community by providing equal access to information and education in a variety of formats,” said Debbie Joyner, Foundation spokeswoman and fundraising consultant.

For more information about Beginning Bookworms, call 256-232-1233.