During the school year, students are exposed to the arts in a variety of ways: in their classrooms, through special presentations, and during field trips. Over the summer, though, many children miss out-- especially those living in low-income areas. With a grant from the NH State Council on the Arts, the NH State Library set out to change this. The organization coordinated a series of arts events at public libraries across the state, employing local artists, and particularly targeting low-income regions.
The state library anticipated a second positive outcome as well: by getting kids into the library for the special event, they could introduce them to the space and its resources. It seemed to work. One librarian from Boscawen reported, “we were able to get a group more than double the usual size of our children’s events”.
Praise for the program abounded. Both artists and audience members felt that their time was well spent. “No other state I’ve worked with is this coordinated from the top as new Hampshire is,” said one presenter, “the communication is fast. Everything is well organized”. That “coordination from the top” was carried out by Ann Hoey, the Youth Services Coordinator for the state library. On the receiving side, librarians were equally thrilled with the program. “The energy and professionalism of Lindsay and her Puppet pals inspired the children with the idea that our summer reading program was fun, exciting and worth their time,” said a representative of Newport’s Richards Free Library.
This project was made possible through a grant from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, along with a matching federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.