SLIS, Dunn Foundation to present home libraries to 2 families

The Warrick Dunn Family Foundation, in collaboration with The Florida State University School of Library & Information Studies, will present home libraries to two single-parent families at 11:30 a.m. Friday, July 8, at FSU’s Goldstein Library in the Louis Shores Building.

The presentation is the culmination of a pilot project partnering WD-FF with Dunn’s alma mater and an extension of its Homes for the Holidays program, in which homes are furnished for selected single-parent families who are moving into their Habitat for Humanity-built homes near holidays. Latashee Daniels and Wannessia Jefferson, whose families will receive the home libraries, own the two homes in Tallahassee most recently furnished by WD-FF.

The goal of the project is to provide HFTH families with an extensive collection of books and other educational materials to nurture and inspire their interest and love for reading and literacy.

The collaboration was the brainchild of Dr. Nancy Everhart, a SLIS associate professor who is director of FSU’s PALM Center for school library research and immediate past-president of the American Association of School Librarians. Doctoral students from the PALM Center went to the two families’ homes and conducted extensive interviews with the children in order to determine their reading interests and preferences. Everhart and faculty members Dr. Melissa Gross, Dr. Don Lathan and Dr. Marcia Mardis worked with graduate students in their classes to select appropriate materials for each family.

“This service-learning project highlights the unique skills that our faculty and students can provide to the community,” Everhart said.

Follett Library Resources provided the digital and printed materials in the libraries, valued at about $800 per family.

“Follett is delighted to sponsor the home libraries for these families because our mission is to support literacy and lifelong learning,” Follett President Todd Litzsinger said. “Having books available in the home promotes family reading.”

Dunn, a former FSU and NFL running back, announced the collaboration last November at the College of Communication & Information’s Homecoming Convocation, where he was honored as 2010 Distinguished Alumni for the School of Library & Information Studies.

Although the pilot program focused on HFTH families in Tallahassee, the Warrick Dunn Foundation hopes to expand and replicate the university collaboration to its other communities in Florida, Georgia and Louisiana.

“The collaboration with FSU enhances our Homes for the Holidays program for single parents and their children,” said Jennifer Maxwell, executive director of WD-FF. “Increasing literacy within our recipient families will create lasting change for future generations.”