County Executive Pittman and Anne Arundel Public Libraries Launch Mobile Kindergarten Readiness Program
Program expansion funds 2 electric vehicles and 6 staff members to provide early literacy services in underserved areas of the county
Annapolis, MD (Oct. 19, 2022) - Today, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and Anne Arundel County CEO Charles “Skip” Auld announced the expansion of Anne Arundel County Public Library’s (AACPL) kindergarten readiness program to provide mobile literacy services in underserved areas of the county.
“I made a commitment to close the achievement gap because I recognize the disparities that exist in our county,“ said County Executive Steuart Pittman. “Making sure every child is ready for kindergarten is one way we are addressing those disparities because investing in our childrens’ futures is the best investment we can make.”
The county allocated nearly $600,000 in the FY23 budget for the program expansion. The funds enabled AACPL to hire six additional staff members and purchase two electric vehicles to build on its already successful early literacy storytimes and resources offered only at the 16 library locations. The mobile program will allow the library system to meet children and families at locations around the county where the need is the greatest and where access and transportation have traditionally been a barrier.
“Helping children develop a love of reading and learning is at the core of library service,” said AACPL CEO Skip Auld. “For decades, families have come to the library to ensure their preschooler is kindergarten ready. The expansion of AACPL’s kindergarten readiness program will allow us to take these skills on the road, directly reaching families who may face barriers to getting to the library.”
In 2021, County Executive Pittman pledged to close the achievement gap by increasing the number of children ready for kindergarten to 76% by 2026. According to the Maryland 2021-2022 Kindergarten Readiness Assessment Report, only 40% of children in Anne Arundel County demonstrate readiness for kindergarten with pronounced disparities in achievement based on race, ability, language status and household income. Recognizing the administration’s commitment to addressing student progress and early childhood readiness, Anne Arundel County CEO Skip Auld testified for funding to expand the program during all seven budget town halls, including a town hall held to discuss the needs of hispanic residents.
During Storytime in the Sunshine at the Annapolis Town Center, County Executive Pittman and CEO Skip Auld read “Dog’s Colorful Day” to children and families in attendance and welcomed Sneaks, the Library Cat to preview the electric vehicles.
AACPL offers a variety of school readiness resources for children from birth to five years old including weekly storytimes at all locations, hundreds of thousands of books and movies, ABC Mouse online curriculum, PLAYAWAY launchpad tablets and more. In FY 22, customers checked out more than 1.8 million children’s books and movies and over 150,000 people attended nearly 4,7000 library programs.
To find out more about preschool resources and programs visit aacpl.net/preschool.