Schenectady County Celebrates One Year Anniversary of the Phyllis Bornt Branch Library and Literacy Center

Schenectady County officials were joined today by members of the Schenectady County Public Library Board of Trustees, community partners, and members of the community to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Phyllis Bornt Library Branch and Literacy Center.  A community open house was held immediately following celebratory remarks and birthday cake.

“What a great year it has been for our families in Schenectady County who have benefited from the exciting new programs that have been offered, all with the goal of  helping to improve family literacy,” said Tony Jasenski, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature.

The development of a Literacy Center within a new branch library was part of the County Library’s Restructuring Action Plan that was developed by the Library Board of Trustees and Schenectady County, with input from the Friends of the Library, Library Staff, and County residents. The branch was designed to be used by families and children with wide variety of programs, including those for job seekers who need to upgrade literacy skills to find employment.

“Our research and discussions within the community showed that improved family literacy can have a dramatic impact on the educational success of our children and the economic health of our community,” said Holly Vellano, Chair of the County Legislature’s Committee on Libraries and Education.  “Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard toward our goals and created a wonderful space for our families and the community to come together and learn.”

“On behalf of the Library Board of Trustees, I am proud of the work we have done in successfully creating this beautiful facility and thank the Schenectady County Legislature for their commitment to, and investment in, this project,” said Carmel Patrick, President of the Library Board of Trustees. “I am especially excited that children and their families are coming together with our talented and caring Library staff members, in ways that make them excited and enthusiastic about reading, and inspired to value life-long learning.”

The first year results have been impressive. As of February 22, 2017 more than 81,612 individual visits have been made to the branch, with 1,036 new library cards issued and 61,169 items circulated.  There have been 469 different programs offered with 4,906 individuals attending.  Branch computers have been used 20,163 times with 13,737 visitors utilizing the free wireless service.  The branch has also become a meeting place for many community organizations, with 82 different outside groups using the two branch community spaces.

Programming has included:

Early/Youth Literacy: Stay & Play (one of only 400 Family Place Libraries in the country); Every Child Ready to Read; Music and Movement; PAWS for Reading (with therapy dog), visit by author Jacqueline Woodson, winner of National Book Award and children's book illustrator Bryan Collier, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and many others.

Adult Literacy:           Twice a week ESL classes and writing program for adults

Family Literacy:         Summer reading program for families;
                                     February Black History Month Film Series.

Financial Literacy:     Money Matters five week financial literacy program; Tax assistance for filing taxes; Invest in You home ownership program.

Digital Literacy:          One on one technology and resume assistance and numerous computer classes.

Health Literacy:          Health fair with local providers, Tai Chi for Health class, Heroin's Here program, and Pain, Pleasure and Pills: the Dangers of Addiction, free lunch program during April Spring Break.

Youth Programing:     Fresh Perspectives Youth Mentorship; Little Wonders STEM programs, Lego Club, Voluntween, after school programs, arts and crafts.

Adult Programming:   Watercolor painting, Mixed Media Collage, Fiber Arts, Adult Coloring,

The library is named for Ms. Phyllis Bornt, a former County librarian who left a bequest to the County to support branch libraries. The focus on literacy is part of a community-wide effort involving the County, City, City School District, Friends of the Library, Schenectady Foundation, Wright Family Foundation and others to equip every member of the community with solid reading, writing and digital literacy skills.