The Friends supports many different projects and services at the Saint Paul Public Library. For years, The Friends has supported on-going activities and services, such as the Summer Reading Program and the purchase of new books and other materials. In addition, The Friends works closely with Library leadership to raise funds for new initiatives, and to assist in meeting the changing needs of the community. Support for these projects comes from government and foundation grants, member and contributor donations, corporate and business supporters, endowment funds, and other Friends fundraising activities.
Some of the Saint Paul Public Library projects and initiatives recently supported by The Friends…
For children and youth:
- Summer Reading Program
- Saturday LIVE! at Central Library
- Homework Help Centers
- Homework Rescue online tutoring
- Read With Me
- Early Literacy – Read Around Saint Paul
- Events and Programs at the Library
- Small Business Resource Center
- Workforce Development
- Assistive Technology
- Reaching Out to New Americans
The Summer Reading Program always has opportunities for parent participation. When you bring your children to the library to check out books or to enjoy the fine (and fun!) programming that’s there, you’re participating.
Let your child see you read. Nothing will impress them with the importance and pleasure of reading more than seeing you read. Find out more about early literacy and raising a reader.
Challenge yourself to read ten or twenty hours this summer. From June through August, that works out to only fifteen minutes per day. You can do that! So can your child. When your child brings in their reading record with ten hours of reading noted, they can select a book from our SRP collections. When they read twenty hours, they can select another!
The Summer Reading Program includes performances, hands-on workshops, storytimes, lunches with librarians, online book reviews and a read-for-rewards program, guaranteed to whip kids and teens into a reading frenzy. Research has shown that kids who actively read between school terms grow up to be better readers and learners.
Since the inception of the Summer Reading Program in 1960, The Friends has been a strong, vital supporter. In recent years, The Friends has provided annual grants to the Library of $30,000 or more to support the free public programs that occur each summer.
The Summer Reading Program runs from June through August, and a full slate of exciting programs are sure to attract record numbers of active readers. Visit the Library's website or any Saint Paul library for information on reading rewards and events.
Saturday LIVE! at Central Library
Get ready for music, puppetry and animal fun at Saturday LIVE! More than just a storytime, the Saturday LIVE! performances offer children a fun learning experience every Saturday morning in the Children's Room at Central Library.
This literacy-based program selects performers for both their entertainment value and their ability to promote the joys of reading and libraries to young audiences. Families can enjoy a wide range of multicultural programming including puppetry, magic, live animals, storytelling, music and much more.
Saturday Live! events begin at 11:15 a.m. The library opens at 11 a.m.
Do the Wiggle, Jiggle and Jam with Wendy and her guitar. March along with Puppets on Parade. Enjoy the fascinating, living creatures of the Minnesota Zoomobile. You and your kids will love Saturday LIVE! programs.
Homework Help Centers
Students of all ages may drop in to the Homework Centers for assistance, to use dedicated computers for homework, or to work with peers. Community volunteers, trained by the Minnesota Literacy Council, are available to help students, and enjoy serving as informal mentors.
In 2002, the first Homework Help Center, SWAMP (Schoolwork and Mentoring Program) opened at the Lexington Outreach Branch Library. Since then, five additional centers have opened: SunSPOT (Study Place Offering Tutoring) at the Sun Ray Branch, the SHAC (Student Homework & Activities Center) at the Riverview Branch, STARS (Students Together After-school at Rice Street) at the Rice Street Branch, The ZONE at the Dayton's Bluff Branch and The HotSPOT at Arlington Hills Branch. Click on the logos below to visit each site's web page at SPPL.org.
The Friends has been instrumental in securing support for the Homework Help program. The Centers were established in 2001 with the support of The Saint Paul Foundation, the F.R. Bigelow Foundation and the Mardag Foundation. Subsequent financial backing for the Centers has come from the federal government with the support of Representative Betty McCollum; from the State of Minnesota - Office of Library Development Services via the federal Library Services and Technology Act; and privately, through many corporate and foundation gifts.
Live Homework Help™ provides students in grades 4 through 12 with free access to thousands of expert tutors, seven days a week, for one-on-one help in math, science, social studies and English. Every day, between 3 and 10 p.m., library card holders can access real-time tutoring services from any Library computer with internet access, or from anywhere on the planet via www.sppl.org, using their library card.
An Internet interface lets students find subject- and grade-level-appropriate help from 3 to 10 p.m. every day. Spanish-language assistance is available from 3 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.
Teachers, college students and professors are screened, hired and certified to provide online homework assistance.
The Friends was pleased to provide start-up funding for this service beginning in February 2006, as an extension of the Homework Help program. In fall 2008, MELSA (Metropolitan Library Services Agency) will begin providing Live Homework Help™ for all metropolitan libraries.
Read With Me
Read With Me is a literacy program offering free help with reading and writing for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders.
Children are paired with volunteer tutors who work one-on-one with each child to improve their literacy skills for one hour per week. Volunteer tutors receive training from the Minnesota Literacy Council.
Read With Me is a complement to the Homework Help Center program, reaching younger children for whom fundamental reading skills are the focus. In 2006, Comcast Foundation generously granted The Friends funding to promote Read With Me, as well as to provide additional resources for students and tutors.
Reflecting changes in our community, and looking to future strength of the City, Mayor Coleman has created a focus on early literacy under his Ready for School, Ready for Life initiative. The Saint Paul Public Library has been a champion of literacy for all ages as part of its mission, however there is a new focus on developing literacy skills for children under the age of five.
Library Director Melanie Huggins has intimate experience in addressing the needs of very young children in library settings, and led the creation of Blast Off To Kindergarten, a month-by-month guide to preparing children for the school experience available in four languages.
Read Around Saint Paul brings the lessons and resources of the Library into the community. Books, information about the library, and targeted activities for parents to engage children during their daily schedules are located at partner agencies, and will eventually be in food shelves, restaurants, laundromats, and grocery stores.
Read Around Saint Paul has received funding from Travelers Foundation and Ecolab Foundation.
The Friends is pleased to extend the number of programs and events available at the Library through funding and collaboration on opportunities such as:
The Small Business Resource Center offers specialized resources - in print, in person and online - for the beginning entrepreneur as well as owners ready to see their small businesses grow.
In collaboration with Neighborhood Development Center, classes and workshops are also offered to help new business owners address issues such as marketing, customer service, industry analysis, website development and cash flow management.
The Small Business Resource Center began at the Lexington Outreach Library with the support of Wells Fargo Foundation. With its move to the Rondo Community Outreach Branch, funding was generously provided by Travelers Foundation and Trillium Family Foundation. Click here for a current listing of classes.
Complementing the Small Business Resource Center and other Library resources such as resume books and employment guides, is the Job Resource Center, created in 2008 at the Sun Ray Branch Library. The Job Resource Center offers free access to dedicated computers with specialized software for resume building and job searches. Assistance looking for a job, filling out applications, and writing resumes and cover letters is available free with a career counselor from Goodwill-Easter Seals - no appointments required. In addition, there are a scanner, fax machine and print materials specifically to support success in entering the workplace.
Free classes are offered at the Sun Ray Branch, Rice Street Branch and Rondo Community Outreach Library focusing on interview skills, job search strategies, networking, and more. Click here for a current listing of classes.
Thanks to funding provided by the State of Minnesota and through the State of Minnesota Office of Library Development Services via the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), there are three library branches (Central Library, Highland Park Library, and Rondo Community Outreach Library) with specialized hardware and software available for use by people with vision loss and mobility and learning challenges.
According to disability advocates, technology is often created without regard to people with disabilities, creating unnecessary barriers to hundreds of millions of people. Assistive technology is a generic term that includes assistive and adaptive devices and the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. Assistive technology promotes greater independence for people with disabilities by enabling them to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changed methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks.
The Saint Paul Public Library is passionate about the inclusion of all members of our community in the use of library resources. The State of Minnesota Office of Library Development Services, via the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), awarded two separate grants: first to study the best methods and messages for reaching New Americans, and second, to use those methods to spread the messages. In 2008, a third grant was awarded to create a series of video segments appropriate for television and internet broadcast, to further reach these members of our community.