Florida Library Association announced United Way of Northeast Florida as the 2018 Outstanding Business Partner. The nomination, submitted by Jacksonville Public Library, recognizes JPL’s long-standing partnership and support of United Way’s early learning initiative, ReadingPals.
ReadingPals matches passionate, committed volunteers with pre-kindergarten students who need extra help getting ready for kindergarten. Volunteers help improve children’s literacy and oral language skills by reading aloud and completing activities.
Since 2012, the library has supported ReadingPals in various ways including, holding book drives at all 21 library locations, collecting thousands of books to build home libraries for the children; providing training, recruitment and referral of volunteers to read books to children; and creating recommended age-appropriate reading lists. As a result of the 2017 book drive, more than 1,000 books were donated by the community and more than 200 ReadingPals students received three or four books for their home library.
Tim Rogers, director of Jacksonville Public Library, said, “We are so proud of our partners and congratulate them on this much deserved recognition. The United Way ReadingPals initiative and partnership is a natural tie-in with the library’s priority for youth literacy—and it has proven results.”
ReadingPals has served over 1,200 students and provided over 26,000 books to these students for their at home libraries. Pre- and -post assessment scores showed ReadingPals helped improve children’s reading skills.
The collaboration between Jacksonville Public Library and ReadingPals is a testament to the power of partnerships. To learn more about ReadingPals and how you can get involved, visit unitedwaynefl.org/readingpals.