Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees Recognizes Outstanding Library Advocates and Partners of the Year at Annual Public Meeting
Recipients of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s 2018 Advocate of the Year honors were announced at the Library’s Annual Public Meeting on April 15th. Dr. Nosakhere Griffin-EL, a library volunteer with a profound dedication to literacy and learning, was named Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s 2018 Advocate of the Year and Jeremiah Fielder, a Reading Buddy at CLP – West End, was named the 2018 Teen Advocate of the Year. Rounding out the honors were library partners the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, recognized as Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s 2018 Outstanding Community Partner and PNC as the 2018 Corporation/Foundation Partner of the Year.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Advocate and Partner of the Year Awards were created as a way for Library board and staff to recognize the outstanding library advocacy efforts by community members and local organizations. Library staff and members of the community were invited by the board to nominate outstanding and deserving community members who demonstrate a commitment to furthering library services. Awardees were selected by the Board of Trustees based on their demonstrated belief in the importance of free and equitable access to information in a democratic society; belief that libraries and librarians are vital to the economic, social and educational fabric of our community; and their ability to act as ambassadors in the community, serving as the eyes and ears of the Library, as well as its voice.
About the honorees:
Dr. Nosakhere Griffin-EL was recognized for his dedication to engaging children, particular young readers of color, and their families in reading. He engages parents in working to increase their children’s literacy skills, and approaches the children he works with a genuine interest in their future goals. Within the last year, Dr. Griffin-EL co-coordinated a monthly Young Dreamers Meet Up Read Up program at CLP – East Liberty; volunteered as a Reading Buddy at four different library locations; wrote blog posts for the Library’s Story Pockets blog; developed reading lists such as “20 Books That Inspire Black Girls To Strive Toward Greatness” that promote books featuring African American characters; and administered a Facebook page to share literacy information and book recommendations to area families. Dr. Griffin-EL was first spurred into action with the Library when his son was diagnosed with a speech delay. At that time, his family turned to the Library as a resource for learning and, of course, books. Currently, Dr. Griffin-EL is in the exploratory phase of founding the Dreamocracy Learning Lab, a nonprofit that will continue to partner with the Library “at the intersection of learning and dreams”.
Jeremiah Fielder was looking for volunteer service hours, a requirement of attending PPS Obama, when he found the Library. He told the Library’s Volunteer Coordinator that he liked working with kids, a rare response from a teen. Every Tuesday afternoon he is CLP – West End’s Reading Buddy, eager to work with the group of kids invariably waiting for him. Jeremiah has demonstrated that teens make excellent Reading Buddies, working with library staff to engage younger kids in a variety of enriching activities including STEM, art and reading. Kids see him as a role model. The connections he has built are evident every time a child asks, “Is Mr. Jeremiah here today?”
The Library and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank share a common goal – to combat the summer slide. Research shows that youth cannot effectively learn if they don’t have access to adequate nutrients. The summer is a crucial time for youth, because without access to free school breakfast and lunch, they are missing out on nutrients which help them focus and learn. Recognizing that the Library is a community gathering place for many youth during the summer, the Food Bank offered their support by providing free meals at CLP locations. Now in its third year, the Summer Meal Program provided almost 20,000 meals last year (a 55% increase over 2017) to library patrons under the age of 18. By providing Pittsburgh’s young students with healthy foods, students spend their summers reading and expanding their minds instead of worrying about their next meal. The Food Bank’s commitment goes beyond the summer months, as they continue to work with library staff to support a school year snack program so kids and teens continue to learn and thrive during the after school hours.
In 2018, PNC supported the communities they serve with a total of $72 million in charitable giving, including sponsorships and PNC Foundation grants. PNC employees also volunteered 88,600 hours with PNC Grow Up Great programs. Through their philanthropy, PNC has provided our community’s children—along with their families, caregivers and educators—with access to educational opportunities that enhance and support children’s early learning and development. PNC Grow Up Great, the organization’s signature program which focuses on children from birth through age 5 have helped library staff expand community outreach efforts by offering high-quality, interactive early literacy programs throughout local child care centers, preschools and Head Start classrooms. Through the PNC Charitable Trusts, the Library has extended its digital media and arts-related programs for teens into the community, including outreach to youth receiving treatment and services at UPMC Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Shuman Detention Center and the Pittsburgh Equality Center.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh welcomes new volunteers and advocates at all times. For details visit carnegielibrary.org/volunteer.