EASTCONN Connections TV Show June 2019

EASTCONN Connections TV Show June 2019


[mellow music playing] welcome to EASTCONN connections I am
Gary Mala executive director of EASTCONN and I’ll serve as your host for
today’s show today’s show is the first in a series
where periodically during each school year will highlight the education
partnerships and programs that EASTCONN is privileged to provide with its many
wonderful regional partners today I’d like to welcome my first two guests to
the education I’m sorry EASTCONN connections program Elizabeth Lane
executive director of the Willimantic Public Library in Kristin Hempel EASTCONN associate director of adult and Community Services welcome ladies thank
you nice to be here with you today I first would like to thank Elizabeth on
behalf of each kind and the Willimantic public library staff for their
generosity in allowing EASTCONN’s Arts at the Capitol Theatre AV students
to film our first session ever here in your beautiful facility. Elizabeth: it is our
pleasure. Gary: I’d also like to thank the students who you can’t see but I can
who are filming and will produce our EASTCONN connections show along with Dan
Boviert extraordinaire instructor today’s topic is to discuss
EASTCONN’s adults and community program partnerships with the Willimantic Public
Library and I’m going to start with you Elizabeth you know I know you’re very
proud of the Willimantic public library and you’ve been here over a year now and
could you expand on those areas where you’re the most proud and where the
library has changed during your tenure Elizabeth: well we are lucky enough to be in a wonderful community and in that wonderful community there’s many
wonderful organizations nonprofits schools and most importantly people to
work with and it’s been wonderful to meet all of these community partners
meet all of the students across the street and in schools around the
community and show off all the great things that the
library has going on we have programming we have books we have passes to museums
and since I’ve been here we’ve grown all of those areas and we continue to
collect materials that we think our public is really going to like and we’ve
seen our circulation numbers almost double and we hope to continue on that
track there’s a lot of readers in Willimantic and windham. Gary: and what is your circulation? Elizabeth: our circulation right now to quote it’s about 2,000 items a month and
that includes E- resources as well Gary: that’s pretty significant
Elizabeth: yes Gary: e-resources prompts me to ask you the question how is technology affected what
I call the traditional library consumer you know I remember growing up it was it
was an exciting time when you got to that age where you could go to the
library and get your library card freely it came and it came in a pouch you know
but obviously technology has changed library service so from your perspective
how is it changed well that is the Elizabeth: Well that is the really great thing and that’s something we’re always trying to tell people with your library card you it’s not just
physical books I mean yes this is what we’re most known for but the library is
everywhere and that’s because of the internet and the digital realm so you
can download audiobooks you can download ebooks you can learn a new language
online you can take a class online and that’s only growing so you know you have
that physical idea of the library but then this this other other site that you
know with your library card it just opens so many doors Gary: yeah I’m a traditionalist and I always think that there’s nothing better than to see a
young person you know with a book in their hand actually reading the physical
book instead of reading an e-book but who knows we’ll see where that goes.
Elizabeth: and we don’t judge whatever your reading is good with us you know we cover the full
gamut from Shakespeare to a dog man which is a very popular one with their
youth you know whatever is your reading it’s good Gary: have you done recent renovations to the to your facility? Elizabeth: well as you probably noticed
walking in today today is day one of our new artwork outside we had local artist
Ben Keller do a mural and the idea is to be more inviting to be more eye-catching
and to have students parents people in the community visitors coming through
look at our building and say what is that and come check it out. Gary: it’s really it was really beautiful walking in and just kind of transformed it appeared
overnight yes quite quite impressive Kristin let me go to you for a minute
talk about your responsibilities in your position as associate director of adult
and Community Services it sounds this monstrous title sure there’s a lot of things that encompass there but
Kristin: I’m the luckiest person at EASTCONN and maybe in Willimantic because I get to
work with so many different individuals coming in just to seek to improve
themselves their lives for their families for their community and so we
offer a wide range of programs everything from citizenship to English
language literacy to math and high school preparation classes and we get to
do it in a lot of different ways and we get to work with fabulous partners who
really have the best interests of our community in mind and are willing to
come to the table and think creatively about what do we do to get our neighbors
our friends the tools that they want the skills that they deserve so that they
can access jobs so they can access careers and they can you know provide
for their kids and set themselves up and our community up for generations so
that’s what I get to do
Gary: yeah and I would think that you know you play somewhat of
a counselor role too and a motivator because folks that are coming to
obviously experience adult and community services have to have a desire to go
something has to motivate them to go but you also have to motivate them to stay
engaged so they you know they realize success or some type of completion so
I’m assuming you get some great satisfaction out of that
Kristin: I do I’m humbled every day because the determination the grit that it takes
people to keep coming back in they’re balancing full lives with lots going on
and part of what inspires me too is the way that our staff recognize that and
are able to figure out you know what yes you have a lot going on let me figure
out how do we how do we make those two ends meet so that you can we want you to
be able to you know be there and help your kids do their homework we also want
to help you move forward with this job search that that you’re involved in so
so yes all of our staff members do a lot I think to motivate to encourage to help
make sure that everyone knows they do have the the capacity within them and
we’re just here to make sure that they can reach the resources that are going
to get them there
Gary: let’s go to today’s topic now that you had an opportunity
introduce yourselves to the audience we’re here to talk about the
collaboration that exists between EASTCONN in the Willimantic Public Library
and Kristin you said it enthusiastically and you looked at your other guests with
great enthusiasm when you cited that collaboration in that partnership talk
to me about how that started Kristin: We were just trying to figure that all out I don’t know if it was you know just sort of destined to be but I think the
first time we met face to face was at the nonprofit alliance of northeastern
Connecticut’s meeting
Elizabeth: I think so Gary: also known as what? What is the acronym?
NANC Kristin: and Elizabeth was wonderful to agree to commit some of her time to come and meet with us down at
our building on Tyler Square underneath the clock tower near Sherman Williams
and talk about and we just had a really you know center a synergy I think of I
yes she was talking about some the great things they’re doing we were talking
about some of ours talked about our hopes for the community.
Elizabeth: and a lot of our hopes are it’s the same thing we’re trying to help people we’re trying to
showcase the myriad of resources available to people and our biggest goal
is to make people welcome and comfortable enough to come
in and talk to us about those and have us be able to point them in the
direction that they may need Gary: I could tell you now you make me very comfortable speaking to you so I’m energized by the energy that you’re
giving off could you talk about some of the specific events and activities that
result that resulted from this partnership you know and I think in some
notes that were provided to me on May 15th there was an event in collaboration
with the Connecticut Food Bank and the Vesta corporation why don’t you talk
about some of those things that have actually happened or will happen in
their future Elizabeth: absolutely so one of the collaborations that has reached the most
people immediately has been through our Windham Heights satellite library which
is just a mile down the road and we are in the Learning Center with EASTCONN
EASTCONN runs an after-school program that’s very successful and we have a
library where we do programming and we have books and other materials and in
that community what started out as an idea to give some of the youth that are
experiencing food insecurity a backpack on Fridays grew into this amazing
collaboration with the Vesta Corporation who are the managing partners in Windham Heights EASTCONN who runs the after-school program Willimantic Public
Library and the Connecticut Food Bank so it started in December and once a month the third Wednesday of every month the food truck comes and we average
about a hundred and fifteen families come and get fresh produce meat milk
bread and while they’re there the library is always open and this past
month was the first month that we’re bringing in outside partners to talk
about some programming so this this month the community access agency came
by next month Kristen will be there to talk about some of the very specific
programs that we are tailoring for that community and moving forward we hope to really connect those hundred plus families each
month with more than just food but but other amazing resources in the community. Gary: and establish some meaningful relationships in the community that they
may never have had that opportunity to engage with before that’s I mean that’s
really exciting how about the upcoming US census is that something that you
plan on working on together I know it’s always the struggling communities to go
through that activity yeah Elizabeth: well every person that is not counted is equivalent to $2,900 missing from our community in federal dollars so we are
going to be working together to really get that message out to let people know
that the census is hiring and they are hiring in big numbers right now you can
apply at EASTCONN or you can apply at the library and we will help you with
that that’s 2020census.gov and then when the
census does come out there’s a major digital component and we have new
technology that is going to be out and in full force to help people get counted
and we’re also going to be educating people about that and working with some
community partners and state senators and legislators to come in and dispel
some of the myths surrounding the census there’s some fear out there and we need
to make sure that people know that the larger fear is not getting the resources
into our community yeah and Gary: some talk nationally just at the
political level about you know having the right number of seats in Congress Kristin: but one of the other things that we’re doing here we started this year we our Center isn’t open on the weekends right
now and so we really wanted to continue to provide access to the educational
programs that we have during the Monday through Friday week over the weekends
and so Elizabeth was willing to open her doors and in the community room in the
back we offer citizenship classes so it’s been a wonderful collaboration
where people can bring their kids for the crafts time that that her staff is
running and they they can come in and work with one of our instructors
on preparing for that that process Gary: that’s great we’re gonna take a moment
to cut away for a break short break and then we’ll continue our conversation
when we come back thank you hello I’m Kristin Hemple I’m the
associate director of adult and community programs here at EATCONN and
I want to welcome you to come visit us at the Community Learning Center in
Willimantic where you can enroll in free classes for high school completion
English as a second language or citizenship preparation
I also hope you will take advantage of our American Job Center services where
they will help you get a job or find an even better job while you’re here don’t
forget to check out our low-cost community education classes I look
forward to meeting you at EASTCONN’s adult and community programs at 1320
Main Street and Willimantic under the clock tower see you there [energetic background music playing] Gary: welcome back folks and glad you’re with
us this morning I’m gonna go to Elizabeth you know the traditional
school year is about to come to an end and I’m assuming that the participation
in activities here at the library will even increase more than what you’ve
already expressed you know what things do you have planned for this summer Elizabeth: we have a lot planned and as you stated yes summer is our busiest time the summer
reading theme across the country that the governor also just announced
participation in is a universe of stories and that is so exciting so for
all you science geeks out there we are going to hit you up we have NASA themed
activities we’re going to be creating a solar system upstairs a big 3d model and
we are also going to be asking all of the adults in the community to
participate as well it’ll be a little bit more low-key we’re going to ask that
every adult read one fiction and one non-fiction book of your choosing and
we’ll have programming to go along with that currently we are partnering with
the mill museum that has a quilt exhibition up and as you can see our
backdrop today has these lovely quilts and there’s way more and also the
Jillson square is also participating participating we have a knitting club
the second Tuesday of each month from 4:30 to 5:30 and that has been
generating a lot of interest libraries are great places to make things we just
participated in the literacy lock-in at Windham Heights with Dara Bowling and
the theme was lgbtq+ acceptance and acceptance in general as a as a virtue
and the author was Sean David hutchinson and that was an overnight event and a
lot of youth read all of the books by Sean David David Hutchinson and we are
recommending all of those ones as well and then the really cool thing we’re
doing because libraries are hip and cool in case you didn’t know Gary oh okay
good we are partnering with Willibrew down the street and we are
going to have a books and brew the third Wednesday of every month we just got the
posters this morning and we are super psyched the first meeting is this the
third Wednesday of every month June June June something and we will be picking
the first book there we have a graphic novel to choose from some classic
literature but you know what whatever the brews tell us to do is what we’re
going to do and Kristin: I’ll be there yeah and Elizabeth: curious I’m curious to know what are you
both reading right now Gary: I told you I’m youI’m reading the book the class it’s written by Greenwich public school teacher and specifically outlining how to create
an inventive classroom you know or the classroom of the future so it’s quite
quite riveting actually Elizabeth: awesome are you listening to it or you’re reading it
Gary: Reading it Elizabeth: we got we got our classic reader over here
Kristin: oh I’m on an e-reader oh caught I’m reading becoming by Michelle Obama oh so I am only halfway through Elizabeth: she does she does the audiobook right? Kristin: yeah well I’m reading it
Elizabeth: oh we got a new classic readers here a usual okay that’s wonderful that’s wonderful you
know books really help people learn in a myriad of ways and they’re great
conversation starters so you know the biggest thing we’re doing this summer is
help people find a book that they like because I can guarantee you there is a
book for everyone in this library
Gary: that’s great that’s great such a great community resource our time is coming close to the end but Kristin I want you to have an opportunity to do a quick overview of
some some of the summer activities in adult and community services Kristin: absolutely
I’ll try to move quickly first I want to make sure that people know we do offer
our classes between June I mean sorry July 9th and August 9th so if you’re
interested in summer classes to come on and we also have a Learning Lab that
runs throughout the summer so we don’t want anyone to feel like they don’t have
access to our programs to our tutors all of
that we are we are going strong and the Job Center is also their services stay
open all summer we are going to have a citizenship class running here at the
library over the summer um instead of on the Saturdays we also are right now
recruiting on doing interviews for our in-school youth summer employment or our
Summer Youth Employment programs they’ve already interviewed about 350 or 250
individuals and they’re hoping to get to 350 it’s all funding dependent but for
eligible students it’s an amazing opportunity to get some real-world work
experience in a supportive environment and then of course there’s the in-school
Youth Employment Program that comes after that too or simultaneously so reach
out to us if you’re between fourteen and twenty-one and interested in either of
those and then Elizabeth and I are going to be hard at work planning the kickoff
of an ESL class that’s going to happen here starting in the fall two nights a
week where kiddos are participating with library programs and with other
partnerships through either UCONN ECSU we have some other people on deck there
and then the the adults are over with us doing some really wonderful work with
the English language and citizenship Gary: that’s really great you know I sense the
energy of you both and and and obviously that’s the strength of the partnership
so you know as we move forward into the future you know I could say with all
confidence I see the partnership growing so I’ve appreciated having the time to
speak with both of you this morning and for you our viewing audience again I’ve
this is the first session of EASTCONN connections and our guests have been
Elizabeth Lane executive director of the Willimantic Public Library and Kristin
Hemple EASTCONN’s associate director of adult and community programs so until
next time be well and be kind [mellow music playing]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *