Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Parties

Whew! What a busy and merry Christmas!

This year, QLNB helped out with four local parties.

On December 4th, we were in Crescent Valley helping with the Tenant's Association's children's party.

On December 11th, we were in the Old North End helping out with the ONE Change family Christmas party.

On December 18th, we were back in Crescent Valley, at the Hazen White / Saint Francis School, helping the Resource Centre with their big day.

On December 23rd, we did not make it to Anglin Drive, but we helped that Tenant's Association out by providing 30 books for presents.

Oh, and on December 12th, we were at Cheryl's House, looking back on 2010 and making plans for 2011.

From all of us, to all of you, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Janet McLaughlin, Cheryl Brown, Juanita Black

QLNB was surprised and proud to receive an award at the Crescent Valley Community Tenants Association's 17th Annual Honours and Awards Celebration. These awards are a way to celebrate the many hours of volunteerism in the community and honour community partners. The plaque reads:
Presented to Quality Learning NB
in appreciation of your continual support
of the Crescent Valley Community Tenant's Association
November 2010

The Crescent Valley Community Tenants Association (55/57 MacLaren Blvd., Saint John) is an association of residents who work together to put on special events, beautify and improve their neighbourhood, and work with others to attract services and supports for their neighbours.

The Honours and Awards celebration was held on Nov 6, 2010.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

H.O.P.E. Wellness Fair

QLNB has been invited by the new H.O.P.E. Centre (Health, Opportunity, Pastoral, Education) to join them in a wellness fair this weekend. The event is meant to gather interested area residents to a fun, family-friendly setting and encourage them to dream about possible programs and services.

Wellness has been a major theme for the literacy field since Health Canada released a 1998 paper by Burt Perrin titled How Does Literacy Affect the Health of Canadians?

The Perrin paper gathered evidence from a variety of fields that showed the ways the literacy skills of Canadians impact on their health, "no matter how health is defined or measured." The paper considered "the mechanisms by which literacy affects health, pointing out that this is through a combination of both direct and especially indirect means" as well as showing "that literacy is closely related with other determinants of health which have been identified."

Perrin's findings were echoed by a number of research projects from across Canada, including Nova Scotia's 2004 A Community-Based Approach to Health Literacy Using Participatory Research prepared by Doris E. Gillis. In 2005, Ms. Gillis also prepared Health Canada's shorter paper Beyond Words - the Health-Literacy Connection.

A yet briefer summary of findings is provided in the MCL 2002 Factsheet #6 Literacy is for Health.

Grass Roots Press distributes a number of easy-to-read books on health, including Living with Stress by Judy Murphy. Another popular, easy-to-read health book for adults is the FYI title Staying Well by New Readers Press. We have a partial list of children's books related to health here.

The new H.O.P.E. Centre is now open at 4347 Loch Lomond Road. It is a beautiful multi-purpose facility that houses a wellness centre, a community police office, and a section for City of Saint John Leisure Services staff. There is a large meeting room that will serve as a space to gather for parish and community activities. It also houses a licensed pre-school and an after-school program.

Saturday's event will begin at 11:00 am and finish at 2:00pm. There will be a variety of displays and activities, including: Zumba, a senior’s event, health screening, and our own Storytent. Light refreshments will be served and names will be entered to win some fabulous door prizes. Non-perishable food items will be accepted on behalf of the Lakewood Headstart Food Bank.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Marking International Literacy Day with the Publication of The Bookwagon

After receiving mention on literacy blogs from England to Australia, the Bookwagon program now has a manual. The Bookwagon has been made available online to community literacy practitioners across the English Speaking world.

The Bookwagon program is a year-round, door-to-door book lending and literacy support program that was created in 2003 by Cheryl Brown and Wendell Dryden. It was developed in consultation with families in Saint John’s Crescent Valley neighbourhood. Over the past eight years, the wagon has made nearly 300 trips, allowing families to borrow more than 20,000 books.

The Bookwagon is now available online to read, print or download: Click here

Friday, August 20, 2010

Foundations in Family Literacy

Foundations in Family Literacy Training began in 2001 when the Centre for Family Literacy developed a one-week training program specifically targeting family literacy practitioners in Alberta. This training was redeveloped into ten modules, delivered in a week-long workshop format, with Pan-Canadian content. The content was evaluated and, that fall, two family literacy practitioners from New Brunswick joined 63 others from across Canada to be trained as FFL trainers. They, along with their NS and PEI counterparts, delivered two Maritime FFL training sessions to 40 people in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Since then, Quality Learning NB has served as the NB Anglophone contact for this training. Cheryl Brown, QLNB coordinator and one of those two original New Brunswick trainers, has served on the National Steering Committee for further projects such as developing and evaluating a Family Literacy and Health module. She was also involved as the NSC saw the training incorporated into a community college delivered as an on-line program.

QLNB has been enthusiastic about this training and the thoroughness of the 6 modules:
  • Module l: Fundamentals of Family Literacy
  • Module ll: Literacy with Adults and Families
  • Module lll: Child Development and Emergent Literacy
  • Module lV: Family Literacy in the Community
  • Module V: Family Literacy Across Contexts
  • Module Vl: Leadership in Family Literacy

For more information about this training and its availability, please contact us.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Saint John Free Public Library Supports Storytents

A long time supporter of QLNB and family literacy work throughout the city, the Saint John Free Public Library provided major funding for the 2010 Quality Storytents. The Library generously donated $10,000 to the program, as well as offering support to help us outreach the provincial Summer Reading Club program. This is the eighth year the library has been a major partner and sponsor of the Storytent program.

Pictured L-R are: Cheryl Brown, Coordinator, Quality Learning NB; Suzanne Ball, Chair, Saint John Free Public Library Board of Commissioners; and Joann Hamilton-Barry, Library Director.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

City of Saint John Supports Storytents

Kevin Watson, Leisure Services, Kate Wright, QLNB, and Mayor Ivan Court

The City of Saint John is a major sponsor of Quality Storytents for 2010, and so we were delighted to have Mayor Ivan Court join MLA Trevor Holder, and Saint John City Council Members Carl Killen and Joe Mott, to kick off the program on the site it first appeared.

Mayor Court proclaimed July 5th to be “New Brunswick Storytent Launch Day” for 2010, celebrating the appearance of storytents all around the province.

Cheryl Brown, QLNB, and Mayor Ivan Court

In this, our eighth year, the program continues to draw families with younger children (ages 3 to 7). By mid-summer, we had served 157 individual children and 16 adults in the storytent program, averaging about 11 children per session. Measured on a per visit basis, the total units of service are 566 (534 children and 32 adults): this includes the Bookwagon totals of 4 adults and 138 children.

We deliver storytents twice a week at the corner of Taylor and Patterson and at Coronation Court, and once weekly at 57 Maclaren. We also deliver one tent a week in the Anglin Drive neighbourhood (on Pigeon) and in the Old North End (corner of Albert and Metcalf).

We have delivered 35 of a possible 35 tents, as well as a 4 hour tent at Crescent Valley Community Fun Days on July 24, 2010 and a one-hour launch tent on July 5, 2010. Since June 24, Storytent participants have borrowed 418 books from the Storytent and 289 from the Bookwagon

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mayor Proclaims 'Storytent Launch Day'

Cheryl Brown, QLNB; Trevor Holder, MLA; Janet McLaughlin, CVCTA;
Mayor Ivan Court; Where's Art?; Carl Killen and Jow Mott, City Councilors ;
Heather McKend, Children's Librarian.

Mayor Ivan Court joined MLA Trevor Holder, and Saint John City Council Members Carl Killen and Joe Mott, to kick off the 2010 Quality Storytent program. Mayor Court proclaimed July 5th to be “New Brunswick Storytent Launch Day” for 2010.

The City of Saint John and the Saint John Free Public Library are major sponsors of the 2010 Storytent program. Other financial support comes from the Literacy Coalition of NB/PGI, Canaport LNG, the United Way of Greater Saint John, and the United Commercial Travelers (UCT) Jack Kidd Council 755.

Storytent offers families a chance to read or borrow books for all ages in a pleasant outdoor environment. We also out-reach the provincial library's Summer Reading Club program to children in three North End communities (Crescent Valley, Anglin Drive and the Old North End).

This was the 8th year for storytents in Cresent Valley. Since its beginning, storytents have popped up in other Saint John neighbourhoods, as well as in other New Brunswick communities, including Campbellton, Edmunston, Moncton and the greater St. Stephen area.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

KV3C to run Storytent for Younger Set

From their website:

Story Tent: Summer sun! Tents! Blankets! Stories! Songs! Activities! More! These are all of the things you'll discover at a Story Tent. This program is a wonderful group experience for parents, caregivers and children, 0 to 5 years. It focuses on the pleasures and power of language by using rhymes, songs, stories and activities together. Story Tents also aim at improving parent/caregiver-child interaction.

  • Tuesday, 2pm-4pm, Bill McGuire Centre Ball Field, rain location Bill McGuire Centre
  • Wednesday, 10am-12pm, Meenans Cove Park
  • Friday, 10am-12pm, Arts and Culture Park

KV3C stands for Kennebecasis Valley Community Caring for Children.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quality Storytents 2010

Our Summer 2010 schedule is now set. You can find us...
  • Coronation Court 10:00 - 12:00
  • Taylor & Patterson 2:00 - 4:00

  • MacLaren Blvd 10:00 - 12:00
  • Anglin Drive 2:00 - 4:00

  • Taylor & Patterson 10:00 - 12:00
  • Coronation Court 2:00 - 4:00

  • Bookwagon (Crescent Valley) 10:00 - 12:00
  • Metcalf and Albert 2:00 - 4:00

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Grand Opening of the ONE Change Library

Saint John-Portland MLA Trevor Holder was a guest at the Grand Opening of the ONE Change Library.

This event was hosted by Tammy Calvin, a ONE Change Board Member and volunteer, and supported by Quality Learning New Brunswick coordinator Cheryl Brown.

The opening, held on April 21 to mark New Brunswick Literacy Day, took place at the ONE Change building in Saint John's Old North End. About 25 residents and supporters were in attendance.

Events included a ribbon cutting and the cutting of a celebration cake.

As well, the Arbeaus, local residents, made a donation of books to the library.

And, of course, there was lots of borrowing.

Our involvement with ONE Change began in 2009, when we ran our first Quality Storytents program in this neighbourhood. At Summer’s end, residents were telling us they wanted to continue borrowing books for their families, which led us into discussions with Tammy about what a neighbourhood library might look like. Tammy put books up on a shelf that November, and the borrowing began right away. We were pleased to help with the purchase of more book shelves and books for children and youth.

This project has received additional support from the Greater Saint John Community Foundation and the Department of Social Development.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Grand Opening of Anglin Drive Lending Library

The grand opening of the Anglin Drive Lending Library happened on April 17th, in celebration of the up-coming New Brunswick Literacy Day.

The event was hosted by librarian Charlene Good, library founder and member of the Anglin Drive Tenants Association, Kelly Kelly, President of the Anglin Drive Tenant's Association, and community volunteers Roxanne Locke and Brenda Buckley.

Guests attending included Debbie McLeod, Community Liaison for the Department of Social Development, Cheryl Robertson, board chair of the Greater Saint John Community Foundation, a library sponsor, and our own Wendell Dryden, Community Literacy Worker.

Our involvement with this library grew out of the Quality Storytents program. One afternoon, at an Anglin Drive storytent, Charlene said to us, "I want a library at our community centre. I've been collecting books. Romero House has donated a lot. But I need shelves. I just don't think I can do it myself."

That was a pretty clear invitation for us to work with the Tenant's Association and some other local groups and individuals to get something started. By the Fall of 2009, the Greater Saint John Community Foundation and the N.B. Department of Social Development committed to giving us financial support for helping three north end communities organize a small community library.

Besides helping with the purchase of book shelves and books for children and adults, QLNB provided information on libraries and different types of catalogue and borrowing systems. We also worked hard to help community staff and volunteers believe in their own ability to manage their library.

The grand opening began at 1 o'clock, and the library stayed open that Saturday until 4 o'clock. Regular after-school library hours began the next week.

From left, Debbie McLeod, Community Liaison for the Department of Social Development, Cheryl Robertson, board chair of the Greater Saint John Community Foundation, Wendell Dryden, Community Literacy Worker/Quality Learning New Brunswick, Charlene Good, Library Founder and member of the Anglin Drive Tenants Association, Roxanne Locke, volunteer, Kelly Kelly (in the back), president, Anglin Drive Tenant's Association, and Brenda Buckley, volunteer at the library. Photo Credit: Matthew Sherwood/Telegraph-Journal newspaper.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cheryl Brown receives Daniel L. Hamoline Award

Photo credit: KâtÈ Braydon/Telegraph-Journal

QLNB founding member Cheryl Brown was recently recognized for her work helping families in crisis. She was awarded the Daniel L. Hamoline Award for her contributions to greater understanding of mediation and domestic violence.

The presentation was covered by Sanda Davis for the Telegraph-Journal (online here). Ms. Davis talks a little about our Quality Storytents & Bookwagon programs, as well as the knitting therapy group, and the fact that "literacy and access to services have long been interconnected" in Cheryl's work:

"The potential for outreaching hard-to-reach rural communities, neighbourhoods that may not have access to mainstream information, is just outstanding to me."

Through her work, Brown has met dozens of families in Crescent Valley.

"I know from my experience with low-level adults, that it's not just about low literacy, it's about a general variety of skills that you may not feel comfortable with," Brown said.

"As a counsellor, I know I can help someone feel comfortable by offering to do the paperwork with them upfront, instead of just giving them the paperwork."

It's all about going to where the help is needed, she said.

"We really are in the neighbourhood. You look out your window and they we are, on the grass. Or we're doing the book wagon and we're knocking on your door because you like to get books. Or we're in the community centre doing knitting.

"Right now, I'm talking with a family about whether they need mediation or someone to help them with a parenting plan for their children.

"It's just because I was sitting in somebody's living room in the neighbourhood."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Family Literacy Day Celebrations

Family Literacy Day takes place every year on January 27. ABC CANADA Literacy Foundation and Honda Canada created the day in 1999 to encourage families to read and learn together. This year we supported events in public housing communities.

In the afternoon, we partnered to hold a musical Family Literacy Day drop-in for Crescent Valley families. The event was held at the Crescent Valley Resource Centre in partnership with them and their neighbourhood library committee.

Forty-seven people dropped in to participate. ABC Canada Family Literacy promotional items were given away during this event. A wall of possibilities was posted so families could help us shop for new library books.

As well, QLNB provided a bag full of books for all ages as a prize, and people earned ballots by shopping, singing a song or borrowing a library book. Hey, look! There's another ballot going in now!

Jaylin, who sang up a storm with her friends and mom (top photo), won the bag for her family.

That evening, we partnered with the provincial Department of Social Development to celebrate Family Literacy Day in the Crown Street area public housing neighbourhood. In keeping with the Family Literacy Day song and music theme, we had a Karaoke party. Residents promoted the event using ABC Canada Family Literacy Day posters as well as word of mouth.

About 60 teens, adults and older adults came out, and we had a great time! There were some snacks, lots of karaoke. (There's Wendell singing about how even "squares" can have a ball!) QLNB also supplied a bag full of books - board books through to popular adult reads - for a free draw, won by... Linda! Yay!

Both of these events were part of our on-going work to build capacity in neighbourhoods and help communities find way to support and help one another.

Happy Family Literacy Day, everyone!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Winter Libraries Project

The Greater Saint John Community Foundation and the Department of Social Development have given financial support for Quality Learning NB to scaffold three North End communities in creating and/or maintaining small community libraries.

Residents in these communities have expressed an interest in continues borrowing and/or a desire to have a local neighbourhood library. This project grew out of community interest in having accessible books.

At the Crescent Valley Resource Centre, QLNB was asked to assist in creating a small self-serve community library that sees about 25 units of service per month. We assisted with shelves and books for start up.

At this point the library needs help with forming and maintaining a library group who takes care of the library and purchases books regularly.

On Anglin Drive, involvement with a Storytent program in 2009 put us in contact with a resident who has been creating space for books and borrowing at the Anglin Drive Tenant’s Association Office.

This resident has expressed the need for help obtaining shelves and for information about running a community library: “I’ve been trying to find shelves, and I am so glad something is now going to happen. I can’t do it all by myself.”

In the Old North End, a resident involved with the ONE Change group has indicated, “I’ve wanted to do [a library] for almost two years now.”

Families who borrowed from the Old North End Storytent in 2009 held the expectation at the end of the project that they could continue borrowing, and informal borrowing has been happening at the ONE Change office with limited resources. This project began on November 1, 2009 and will end on May 29, 2010 (30 weeks).

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2004 Storytent Research Online

Now available online: Quality Storytents 2004: Revisiting using choice theory to support reading through a community literacy project.

This paper documents the results of efforts to replicate research from 2003 in a 2004 storytent program which ran in a Public Housing Neighbourhood in Saint John, New Brunswick. The research component examined the impact of the program on the frequency of reading in children's lives, on their own reading levels, and on their perceptions about reading and themselves as readers. As well, this year, we researched the impact of our method of delivery on social interaction.

For more on this and other QLNB research documents, see Research.