Effingham Public Library has been selected as one of 100 libraries nationally to participate in round three of Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries, an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that helps library workers better serve their small and rural communities.
The competitive award comes with a $3,000 grant that will help the library bring homeschooling families in and around the Effingham community together to brainstorm and identify ways the library can become a valuable resource for homeschoolers.
As part of the grant, Effingham Public Library staff will take an online course in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to library work today. Staff will then host three conversations with residents of Effingham and the surrounding communities. Conversations aim to address the needs of local homeschoolers and hope to identify what tools and resources can eventually be implemented into the library’s year-round programming. Grant funds will be used to provide refreshments and childcare during the conversations, hire presenters for future conversations, and acquire materials to support homeschooling programs.
Historically, Effingham was a hub for education. New Hampshire’s very first normal school, a school for teachers, was established in Effingham in 1829. Additionally, the historic building the library is currently housed in was originally built in 1858 as The New England Masonic Charitable Institute. The Institute served as a school run by the Freemasons.
“As I’ve learned more about the history of education here in Effingham, it seems fitting that now we have this opportunity to expand home education resources,” said Library Assistant Director Aysia Morency.
“I grew up in Wolfeboro and can say with confidence that we have great public schools in this area, sometimes however, students need or want an alternative. As stated in our library’s mission, we are here to provide a center for the community that promotes education by providing a means to access information and resources. We want to ensure that if parents and their children decide to homeschool, they have the resources they need. This grant will allow our library to get to know our residents better and help us build a stronger community for our homeschooling families and that is very exciting.”
The decision to homeschool can be exhilarating but also overwhelming, especially if families are just starting out. There are a wide array of curriculum options to choose from. There is the option for using no curriculum or “unschooling”. There is self-testing and self-certifying. And now, there is also the Education Freedom Account (EFA) program, new as of summer 2021, which allows qualified students alternative schooling options such as studying at home. Furthermore, curriculum aside, each student has their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to academia. Through the Libraries Transforming Communities grant The Effingham Public Library hopes to identify what ways the library can best support Effingham’s, and the surrounding communities’, homeschool population. The best way for the library to decipher how to do that is to hear from you! Whether you have been homeschooling for generations or are brand new to the idea, we hope you will join the conversation. You do not need to be a resident of Effingham to join us.
The first conversation is slated for Wednesday, January 26, 2022, at 12:00 p.m. at the Effingham Public Library, 30 Town House Road, Effingham, NH. A second session of the same conversation will be held the following evening, Thursday, January 27, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. Lunch/dinner and childcare will be provided at both sessions.
Parents and Guardians who homeschool their children or are interested in doing so are invited to this initial conversation; however, anyone is welcome to attend. RSVPs are required in order to accommodate everyone. If you are interested in getting involved or taking part in the conversation, please contact Aysia Morency at eplNHlibrarian@gmail.com, (603) 539-1537 or visit effingham.lib.nh.us for more information.
“Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL).”