Thursday, December 30, 2010

How Berwyn woman set her dream in motion - Berwyn, IL - Berwyn Life

Take a look at an article about recent Poetry Idol winner Jas McMullen, who tells how she got started performing poetry in Berwyn and her plans for the future. Poetry Idol is a new program created by the Berwyn Public Library with Jason L. Brock and Michael Joseph Garza. How Berwyn woman set her dream in motion - Berwyn, IL - Berwyn Life

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 Spring ESL Classes at LT's Adult Ed. Program

Click on the title of this blog entry to see the 2011 Spring ESL classes at LT's Adult Education Program.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Poetry Idol program brings new faces to the Library

The Library hosted the first ever Poetry Idol series on Nov. 3, Nov. 18 and Dec. 1. The new program was created with poets Michael Joseph Garza and Jason L. Brock, as well as myself, to bring new patrons to the Library, and to hear some sweet rhymes, as well as create a new community.

Poetry Idol is a blend of slam poetry and American Idol. Contestants perform their poetry live or submit via YouTube and are judged based on content and performance. Judges are free to expound on each performance. In our three part series, "Life, Love, and Liberation" two winners emerge as idols and take home cash prizes at each of the three events.  Read the front page Berwyn Life story here. See the video highlights from the first event here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Volunteer Tutor Training: Using Adult Literacy Materials

On Wednesday, October 20th at the Library, I held a training for volunteer tutors serving adult literacy learners in our area. Program Coordinators and tutors from three literacy agencies were in attendance: Project CARE at Morton College, Literacy Volunteers of Western Cook County, and School on Wheels.

The topic of the training was "Using Adult Literacy Materials." Tutors and program coordinators learned about the 4 types of adult literacy materials: published, learner-written, real-world, and tutor-produced. The new Literacy Center was showcased, which has recently been funded by an American Dream Starts @ your library® grant through the generosity of the American Library Association and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall 2010 Libraries' English and Reading Network LEARN Meeting

Join us on Wednesday, October 6th from 1-4 PM as we listen to two speakers who will help us think in new ways about how we meet the information literacy needs of our community and how we serve adult literacy learners.

Emmett Lombard, author of Pursuing Information Literacy: Roles and Relationships, will be our first speaker. Emmett brings his experience as an academic librarian and English professor to the table and will help us understand our role as in serving adult literacy learners. See a video clip of Emmett talking about his book.

Patricia Barch, Literacy Librarian at Schaumburg Township District Library, will speak about best practices in serving adult literacy learners in a public library setting, including suggestions for collection development, programs, partnering with literacy organizations, and grant writing.

A tour of Berwyn Library's new Literacy Center will be provided. The new literacy collection has been made possible by an American Dream Starts @ your library grant from the American Library Association and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.

The event will be held at the Berwyn Public Library, at 2701 S. Harlem Ave. Berwyn, IL. Additional parking is available on Riverside drive, adjacent to the library. Click here for the meeting agenda. Registration is appreciated; please call Joe Popowitch of the Indian Prairie Library at (630)887-8760 ext. 240. It is not necessary to be a member of LEARN to attend the event.

Hope to see you there! You don't want to miss it! The next LEARN meeting will be in the spring of 2011.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Recap of BPL's International Literacy Day Event

The event was a smashing success! We renewed our commitment to literacy in the City of Berwyn, dedicated the new Literacy Center to Lucy Barahona, and participated in a lively poetry slam to renew our passion for the power of words in everyday life.

Pictures are viewable on Facebook.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Berwyn Public Library Celebrates International Literacy Day with Dedication Event

[Imported from the former Berwyn Library Outreach Blog]

The Library invites you to join them for the unveiling of the new Literacy Center & Collection on Wednesday, September 8th from 7-9 PM in the Community Room. Coffee and refreshments are followed by a dedication of the new collection to a faithful supporter of libraries and literacy. A Poetry Slam will be held at 8 PM with local poets reading their own works; interested community members are invited to read or recite.

The new Literacy collection has been created with an American Dream Starts @ your library® grant from the American Library Association, generously made possible by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The Library received the $5000 grant for adult English language materials and program development in May. In addition to the new collection, adjacent rooms have been repurposed to provide accessible areas for volunteer literacy tutors and teachers to help adults learn to read and speak English.

To sign up to read poetry for the Poetry Slam, please call Esther Chase in Outreach Services at (708) 795-8000, ext. 3044. For more information about the event, or to RSVP, please call the Circulation department at (708) 795-8000, ext. 0.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Emmett Lombard: Information Literacy Video and Event

Hear Emmett Lombard engage public librarians and literacy professionals in a dialogue about information literacy (IL) on Wednesday, October 6th at the Berwyn Public library. Mr. Lombard is an academic librarian and English professor at Gannon University in Erie, PA.

If you've been following my blog, you might already know that Mr. Lombard was one of my professors at Gannon. He helps students develop critical thinking skills and teaches them how to do effective research, resulting in a more information literate society. The talk is open to public and academic librarians, students of Library & Information Science, teachers and tutors, and anyone interested in the topic.

Join us for a lively dialogue about what information literacy is and its role the library.

Date: Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Time: Emmett's segment is from 1-2 PM, entire event is from 1-4 PM
Location: Berwyn Public Library, Community Room (2nd floor)
Address: 2701 S. Harlem Ave., Berwyn, IL 60402

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Literacy Center Sign

[Imported from the former Berwyn Library Outreach Blog]

Things are moving along with our American Dream project. Every day we get a few more books processed and ready for circulation. Our processor, Shaynie, has been really patient even though it's such a big batch of books. We should be ready to unveil the new collection at our International Literacy Day event and dedication on Sept. 8th. I thought it would be nice to dedicate it to a supporter of libraries and literacy...and just this second I figured out who that should be!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

LT Fall ESL Classes - South Campus

Lyons Township High School
South Campus
4900 Willow Springs Road
Western Springs, IL 60558-1795

Students: Please note that some classes may be canceled each semester due to low enrollment. If you are interested in taking a class, please try to register by phone (below) or online at at least two weeks before classes start. I will be at the school for all of the following classes during the first week. After the first week, private tutoring is available if your class has been canceled.

Classes are $28 each. Textbooks may be purchased on Amazon or checked out from the library for free. Private tutoring is $20/hour which may be purchased in 6-hour increments.

To register by phone, please call: (708) 579-6573 Hours: 8-4 Mon-Fri CST

Beginner Speaking

6 – 7:30 PM Mondays
September 13 – November 15
Learn the sound system of American English, basic vocabulary, grammar and reading.

Everyday Writing (All Levels)
7:30 – 9 PM Mondays
September 13 – November 15
Study basic written communication, spelling rules, and phonics.

Pre-GED Reading & Writing (Intermediate & Advanced)
6 – 7:30 PM Tuesdays
September 14 – November 16
Understand and use academic English before taking traditional GED preparation classes.

Advanced Non-Fiction Book Discussion Group
7:30 – 9 PM Tuesdays
September 14 – November 16
Improve your vocabulary and conversation with this lively, snack-friendly group.

ESL Games and Conversation (All Levels)
6 – 7:30 PM Wednesdays
September 15 – November 17
Play educational English games, learn new vocabulary, and have some fun!

Business English (Intermediate & Advanced)
7:30 – 9 PM Wednesdays
September 15 – November 17
Learn to speak and write formal English for work.

Advanced Fiction Book Discussion Group
6 – 7:30 PM Thursdays
September 16 – November 18
Improve your vocabulary and conversation with this lively, snack-friendly group.

TOEFL Prep (Intermediate & Advanced)
7:30 – 9 PM Thursdays
September 16 – November 18
Study for the Test of English as a Foreign Language.

Private Tutoring (All Levels)
At a public library near you—tutoring is available mornings, afternoons or evenings. Please visit an evening class during the first week to register and schedule your lessons. After the first week, please call the school to register.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

ProLiteracy Praises Subcommittee Approval of State Grant Funds

David C. Harvey, president and CEO of ProLiteracy, today said he is pleased by the action of the House Subcommittee on Appropriations for Labor, Health and Human Services approving the $612 million allocation for state grants to adult education proposed by President Obama in his FY 2011 budget.

"This funding represents a $30 million increase in state grants to local literacy and basic education programs from the 2009 budget," Harvey said. "It's a modest but badly needed down payment on what we hope will be an even greater investment down the road."

ProLiteracy has learned that the subcommittee approved the President's state grant funding level as part of its review of appropriations bills on July 15. ProLiteracy also learned that the subcommittee approved a $30 million appropriation for a Workforce Innovation Fund. This fund will allow adult literacy and basic education programs funded under the Workforce Investment Act Title I and II to work together, and with other local and regional partners, to develop comprehensive proposals to scale promising practices.

"It is my hope that these innovation funds will make it possible for more community-based literacy programs to receive desperately needed resources. These programs traditionally work with adults at the lowest literacy levels, those most in need of instruction so they can find jobs that pay a living wage," Harvey said.

Congress Declares National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week 2010

WASHINGTON – The National Coalition for Literacy (NCL) invites you to join them in celebrating National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, September 13-17, 2010. This Congressional declaration, H. Res 1472, was sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis [D-CO] and is the culmination of literacy advocacy and outreach resulting in twenty co-signers in the House.

NCL ( is a national adult education leadership organization comprised of 24 member organizations and adult education professionals, committed to promoting adult education and literacy, family literacy, and English language development in the United States. NCL seeks to advance adult education, language, and literacy by fostering collaboration and advocacy at the national level among public and private organizations.

Big gray clouds didn't stop us today!

[Imported from the former Berwyn Library Outreach Blog] 

Debra and Nimfa read stories in English and Spanish for our Bilingual Storytimes at the Park program, despite strong winds and what felt like a little chill in the air compared to how hot it's been for our team this summer.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Who can keep the story going?

[Imported from the former Berwyn Library Outreach Blog] 

At our ESL Conversation Class tonight, Myra (Mexico) was the winner of In A Pickle. We figured out a brand new way to play the game thanks to Maya (Serbia). The story starts with the first card, and each successive card continues the story. As you can see from the photos, Myra won by placing a card reading "story" and saying it was "The End." What a great game!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Parents in ESL program have their own graduation

In May, Lyons Township's Adult Education program teamed up with Congress Park Elementary school to begin offering parent English language classes. I taught the classes in the pilot program. Reporter Jane Michaels, from The Doings attended our last day of class to capture the story. Click the title of this post to read the article.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Our New Literacy & ESL Collection

[Imported from the former Berwyn Library Outreach Blog] 

Take a peek at our growing adult literacy and ESL collection! Stay tuned for the unveil on the blog or stop in at the library.

Our sincere appreciation goes to the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the American Library Association for our $5000 grant to better serve English language learners.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Adult ESL Conversation Class Update

[Imported from the former Berwyn Library Outreach Blog] 

Our adult ESL conversation class is in full swing! Class is held at the library: 2701 S. Harlem Ave in Berwyn, Tuesday nights from 8-9 PM. Join us for lots of laughter and conversation!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Summer Storytimes in the Park

This summer Outreach Services is partnering with the North Berwyn Park District (NBPD) to bring fun literacy-driven programs to families at six Berwyn parks. Funded by the Penny Severns Summer Family Literacy grant, the program offers bilingual English & Spanish storytimes to children and their parents. See the brochure to the left for dates and locations.
If you are taking classes for Library and Information Science or Early Childhood Development, ask us about internships. Call (708) 795-8000, ext. 3020 for more information.

Friday, June 4, 2010

American Dream ESL Project Update

[Imported from the former Berwyn Library Outreach Blog]

The Berwyn Public Library (BPL) is extremely thankful to ALA and Dollar General for making these $5000 grants to libraries in need of ESL literacy support.

My name is Esther Chase and I work in Outreach Services at BPL. I'm also a certified adult ESL instructor at Lyons Township High School's Adult and Community Education Program. I have been tutoring and teaching ESL since 2007. I'm on the right with my first student, Rosa (middle), and Project CARE Coordinator Karin Johnsey (left).

With the American Dream grant, I look forward to enhancing existing ESL programs in Berwyn by providing them with circulating classroom packs of textbooks and professional development for volunteer teachers and tutors, as well as conversation classes and book talks throughout the community.

In order to work effectively with our Berwyn literacy partners, we will not be duplicating any of their services. Instead, we are providing new services that fill a need that has not yet been met: access to high-quality learning materials free of charge, and programs that allow students to practice English that they have learned in our partners' programs.

Check-in frequently for updates on what we're doing with our $5000 American Dream Grant!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Tell Me a Story" Preschool Storytimes

[Imported from the former Berwyn Library Outreach Blog]

We wrapped up our 2009-2010 outreach storytime season in March. In the following video, Miss Josephine demonstrates simple techniques to get kids "reading ready."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Summer ESL Classes at LT Adult Ed.

LT North Campus
100 S. Brainard Ave.
LaGrange, IL 60525

Beginner Speaking Mon 9-10:30 AM;
Jun 7 - Aug 16

Everyday Writing and Spelling Mon 10:30 AM - 12 PM;
Jun 7 - Aug 16

Intermediate/Advanced ESL
Mon 12 - 1 PM;
Jun 7 - Aug 16

Private Tutoring By Appointment, Mondays; Jun 7 - Aug 16

If you are in a TESL/TESOL program and would like to observe the classes above, please send me an e-mail at

For more info call: (708) 579-6573

Pursuing Information Literacy: Roles and Relationships

Emmett Lombard, a Librarian and English professor from Gannon University, has published a new book!

Mr. Lombard assisted me with my undergraduate thesis and still takes an active interest in my career, five years after graduation. His influence inspired me to pursue a graduate degree in Library Science, and as you all know, teach English (to speakers of other languages).

Take a look at his new book, Pursuing Information Literacy: Roles and Relationships, and order your copy today!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

St. Leonard's Adult ESL Program

[Imported from the former Berwyn Library Outreach Blog]

Tonight was the first class visit to St. Leonard's ESL program. Gabriel Lara, responsible for coordinating the program, escorted me through the classes and let me sit in for a few minutes in each one. Father Tom McQuaid leads the program and teaches one of the classes. He has studied multiple languages internationally.

Their operation is impressive to me, a fellow ESL teacher. Total enrollment is around 40 students, which is divided into multiple levels: Spanish Literacy, Basic ESL Speaking, Basic ESL Literacy, Intermediate ESL and Advanced ESL.

The maximum number of students in each class level is determined mostly by space. Classes convene in the convent on 34th Street. With such small rooms, most would think at first glance that space is a limitation, but it's quite the opposite. Smaller class sizes help English language learners get the attention they need to progress through the levels in a timely way.

All of the teachers are volunteers; most working one day per week, with a minimum of 7 week terms. Classes are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 - 8 P.M., and Wednesdays are review nights. Students attend classes from September through July, with the average student receiving 12-14 weeks of instruction. The building doesn't have air conditioning, hence the summer break.

The most pertinent ways the Library can assist St. Leonard's program is through the lending of materials, especially classroom packs of textbooks, and professional development for their volunteer teachers. It's just what we had in mind! Many ideas were in the air tonight, and we look forward to working together to enhance the St. Leonard's ESL program using the American Dream Starts @ your library grant. Stay tuned for more class visits throughout the community!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

The American Library Association announces the second round of funding to help public libraries develop and implement adult literacy services.

Dale Lipschultz, the literacy officer for the American Library Association's Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, talks about the American Library Association (ALA) receiving a two-year grant of $750,000 from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for The American Dream Starts @ your library. This funding makes it possible for ALA to fund 70 public libraries in Dollar General communities to develop literacy programs for adult English language learners.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Upcoming Library Workshop: Serving the ESL Patron 101

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 9:00 AM - 1:30 PM
Metropolitan Library System Meeting Room - Burr Ridge

Hear guest speaker Dale Lipshultz, Ph.D., Literacy Officer at the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services of the American Library Association speak about The American Dream Starts at Your Library initiative.

I will be presenting on how librarians can effectively refer ESL patrons to appropriate learning opportunities in their communities and offer outreach strategies for partnering with literacy organizations.