The Bookmark About Libraries and Friends – Book sale report

by Jill Forman

The Ventura Friends of the Library had its first in-person book sale of the year on April 17, in the E.P. Foster Library parking lot. Volunteers filled their cars and trucks, and displayed the books on tables and in their trunks and hatchbacks, sorted by genre. COVID protocols were observed.

There was a line of eager booklovers waiting before the opening at 9 a.m. Hundreds of community members came, browsed, and left with bags full of books. Over $1600 was raised for the libraries.

Thanks to all the volunteers, the buyers, and Boy Scout Troop 155 for making the sale a success.

VCLSA Tutoring program – “Change a Life; It Might Be Your Own”

The READ Adult Literacy program is a vibrant and valuable tool for assisting the community; one that many citizens are not aware of. Adults who wish to improve their literacy skills are teamed with community members who receive training through the library and then are paired with a learner. Traditionally, this has been done face-to-face.

Carol Chapman, in her 18th year as READ Program Director, has this to say about the impact of COVID on her program participants. “The COVID pandemic has been a challenge for the READ program, as it has been for everyone. However, many READ tutors and learners have remained active during stay-at-home sheltering. Some have read to each other over the telephone.

Others have learned to use ZOOM, SKYPE, TEAMS or other internet conferencing sites to meet “face-to-face remotely” and continue their tutoring sessions; often using the program’s popular online “News For You” newspaper.

In addition, numerous tutoring partners took “leave” from their tutoring sessions, some by necessity and others choice, and are eagerly waiting to return to work together again when the libraries open fully.”

About the program in general, she adds, “So many adults grew up struggling with reading all the way through school, and now READ has programs designed to make reading easier for them. When we match a struggling-reader with one of these programs and their own personal tutor — magic begins to happen!  I wish more adults would give READ a chance to help.  It generally makes their lives much easier.”

Charles McDermott, tutor, says about his experiences, “I have been involved with adult literacy programs since my retirement as a teacher, and it has proven to be the most fulfilling activity I have ever undertaken. Take Jose for example who came to the Oxnard Library Literacy office after lasting 20 minutes in his first college English class. It took us five years of working together but I will remember forever the sight of him dancing off with his daughter after his graduation from Ventura College! Or Julio who wanted to be an American citizen. After struggling for months with the rigorous demands of test preparation, I will never forget that phone call: ‘Mr. Charles I have bad news for you, I’m going to be voting in November!’  Satisfaction indeed!”

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