Monday, July 16, 2012

Library supports 10th year

Cheque presented by Patti Chisholm, Vice Chair and Michael Richard, Board Member
A long time supporter of QLNB and family literacy work throughout the city, the Saint John Free Public Library is providing support for the Quality Storytent program and Summer Reading Club outreach for a 10th year.

Quality Storytents is a community literacy program that takes place rain or shine, four days a week over eight neighbourhood locations.  The Summer Reading Club is a province wide public library program that encourages reading by allowing children to set a reading goal for the summer, track their progress with logbooks and stickers and celebrate their accomplishments.

We are pleased and proud to have had the Saint John Free Public Library on board, as a funder and a friend, over the past decade.  The library was a founding partner of the Saint John Family Literacy Advisory Committee, and has been a constant supporter and friend in much of our other work with families in the Crescent Valley neighbourhood.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

City of Saint John supports Storytent

Recipients of 2012 Neighbourhood Development Stimulation Grants
Recipients of 2012 Neighbourhood Development Stimulation Grants
Quality Storytents received funding again this year from the City of Saint John Neighbourhood Development Stimulation grants.

This summer, the City is funding our direct work with parents.  In the fall of 2011, we received several requests from parents with their own literacy challenges for lower-level children's books they could read to their children at home.  This developed into a pilot project for offering bundles of books at fixed levels of reading difficulty, and making these available to interested parents and caregivers who accessed the Storytent or Bookwagon (door-to-door library) programs.

The City of Saint John has been a sponsor QLNB's storytents and other projects since 2009, and we have been delighted to have them join us in support of our 10th summer of programming.

Juanita Black receives Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

Hon. Trevor Holder, MLA with Juanita Black

QLNB board member and treasurer, Juanita Black, was one of the Canadian recipients of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.  Juanita received her medal here in Saint John at a lovely ceremony on June 22.

Juanita is a resident of the Crescent Valley neighbourhood, a long-time block parent, and a past president of the Crescent Valley Community Tenant's Association. She helps organize a Community Garden, works as Coordinator of the Around the Block community newspaper and has been described as a "tireless worker for the City's poor."  She is a constant volunteer for events like neighbourhood clean-up, Christmas parties, and Crescent Valley Fun Days. Less visibly, she is a constant source of encouragement and information for many of her neighbours.  As we stated when she received a 2010 YMCA Peace Medal, we feel lucky to have her on our board.

Thank you, Juanita, and well done.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Showcase St. Martins

QLNB's Storytent crew spent a wonderful Saturday out in St. Martins, a small coast side community an hour's drive from Saint John.  They were holding their third annual Showcase St. Martins to promote and draw people into the village.  We were invited to bring the Storytent in support of their Book Town initiative.

We were on hand for four hours at the 4 Seasons Complex, during which time we met families and read to, or provided a reading opportunity for, kids.  (We were just slightly less popular than the brand new fire engine placed proudly on display out front.)

We also met some of their literacy and library volunteers.  Our host, Jackie Bartlett, was a driving force behind Book Town; creating a shop focusing on mystery novels above her tea room.  A same-minded campground owner began stocking camping and adventure books.  A local artist hosted books on arts and crafts.  In 2007, the New Brunswick Legislature proclaimed St. Martins "New Brunswick's official Book town."  By now, there are about a dozen booksellers in the village.  But our host told us their dream is to see free books available "in every little inn and shop" in St. Martins.

Later, we met Betty, the town's chief volunteer librarian.  It was her father who founded the Quaco Historical & Library Society in 1971 along with a small group of other residents.
[They] agreed that their Society should promote an interest in the history of the Quaco-St. Martins area in New Brunswick and to create a museum and archives to preserve its artifacts and documents. They also decided to establish a general literature library to serve their community.
The library itself they describe as "a light-hearted, volunteer-run community library with an amazing selection of popular and classic novels, non-fiction titles and reference works. We are especially proud of our children’s section. New books and the classics get equal shelf space."

But Betty's most proud of something else.  One day, she told us, someone said to her, "Oh Betty, you have made this place where people can come and get together and talk."

We met other people, including local children's author Sara O'Leary (who dropped by before heading off to volunteer duties at the library),  and the St. Martins & District Chamber of Commerce president, Kathy Miller-Zinn.  All in all, it was a wonderful day, and we were equally impressed by the warm welcome we received and the residents' obvious commitment to community literacy.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Literacy Specialist Paul Kropp to visit Saint John

Paul Kropp is an award-winning Canadian author, speaker, and leader in literacy.  He has written more than sixty novels for children, teens, and reluctant readers, as well as non-fiction works for parents, teachers and librarians on issues related to literacy. In 1995, Kropp published The Reading Solution:  How to make your child a reader for life.

QLNB used the ideas in this book when they created the innovative Quality Storytents Program, a program adopted across the province and lauded as far away as New Zealand. This year marks our 10th summer of family reading, book borrowing and the Summer Reading Club in NB’s largest public housing neighbourhood.

This October, Paul Kropp is coming to Saint John to help us celebrate 10 years of Storytent. He will be speaking to parents, teachers and librarians at the Saint John Free Public Library, Market Square.

Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 7:00 pm
Saint John Free Public Library in Market Square

For more information on this event, watch our website or the library webpage at You can also contact Heather McKend at 643-7229 or Cheryl Brown at 333-2601.

Please note that Mr. Kropp is willing to consider program requests from other organizations during his stay in NB. To learn more about Mr. Kropp’s Saint John visit, and the workshops he has available on teaching, parenting, and literacy, contact him directly through his website at

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Seniors’ Libraries 2011 - 2012

L-R  (front) Cheryl Brown, Quality Learning NB; Wanda, Bonny; Debbie McLeod, Community Involvement Coordinator, Social Development; (Middle) Bunny (back)  Sharon; Hon. Trevor Holder, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Wellness; Nancy; Sandra
QLNB is midway through a project exploring innovative ways to meet a need for literacy and learning support in publicly owned seniors’ housing.

This need was recognized by the Department of Social Development, our major partner in this project. The Department is involved with five area residences: Brunswick Drive (The Village); Danells Drive (Lower West); Smythe Street; Charlton Place and Stephenson Towers (two buildings located between the Old North End and Crescent Valley). The DSD Community Liaison Coordinator engaged in conversations with residents, and together they identified local library development as one strategy for promoting the learning, mental health and well being of the residents.

Reading is an enjoyable leisure activity which has a direct, positive impact on the literacy and cognitive capacity of each individual.  Neighbourhood libraries, by improving access to books and services, as well as providing opportunities for hands on learning, contribute to improved literacy levels, increased mental health and well being, and an improved quality of life for individuals and communities.

Our work in support of this consists of
  • Talking with residents about their priorities in terms of access to literacy materials; quality and content of materials in the library and what kind of potential is there to build capacity of residents to manage their own library and obtain and maintain library resources.
  • Following through on specific resident requests for library materials and library service.
  • Provide the short-term support, training and information needed for residents to maintain and run their own residential libraries.
As part of promoting the libraries, QLNB and the DSD helped residents host a series of inter-generational family literacy celebrations through January and February.

All in all, this has been an exciting and interesting project.

Generous funding support for this project came from the City of Saint John and the Greater Saint John Community Foundation.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

HWSF Family Literacy Celebrations

We were pleased to assist in the family literacy and book fair celebrations at Hazen White - St. Francis School again this year.  There was spaghetti, a comic book launch, a Scholastic book fair and special guest readers!  And, of course, our special guest Geronimo Stilton.

Volunteer Robyn Brown and QLNB Board member Juanita Black
flank Geronimo Stilton at the HWSF Family Literacy Celebration.