Des Moines, IOWA – Tuesday, November 22, 2022 – The Des Moines Public Library will significantly expand its early literacy community outreach efforts after securing $1 million in federal funds approved by the Des Moines City Council Monday. The funding is part of $4.9 million in American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) funds the city set aside for childcare and early literacy programs.
The money, allocated over the next three years, will allow the library will expand two existing initiatives: the library’s Simple Steps pre- and early literacy program that encourages parents and caregivers to do simple, daily activities to build reading skills; and our Rosie Reader outreach program, in which library staff visits classrooms, childcare centers, afterschool programs, and other organizations to promote reading.
“The library’s role in the community is to teach a love of reading, to excite children about the wonders of books,” Des Moines Public Library Director Susan A. Woody said. “We know kids who get a head start on reading perform better in school, and we are excited to now be able to reach even more families.”
The library plans to hire several new outreach staff members, purchase literacy materials and new outreach vehicles, and launch a public awareness campaign aimed at showing the importance of raising school-ready children and fostering a love of reading early in a child’s life.
Currently, the library’s outreach staff visits Des Moines Public Schools preschools and targeted second-grade classrooms. New staff and resources will expand those efforts into more classrooms, additional daycare and childcare centers, and other community organizations.
Marketing & Communications Supervisor, Des Moines Public