February 5, 2016

Shelley Davenport | Movers & Shakers 2014 — Community Builders

Movers2014webBigDavenportb

vitals

CURRENT POSITION
Programming & Outreach Coordinator
Anne Arundel County Public Library, Annapolis, MD

DEGREE
MLS, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, 2001

Photo ©2014 Michael Pilla

Kid-Centric

“I love early literacy programming,” says Shelley Davenport, and it shows. As programming and outreach coordinator at Anne Arundel County Public Library (AACPL) since 2012, Davenport identified a need for the library to step up as a community leader in early literacy intervention and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programming. In one month last fall, AACPL offered 32 new STEM programs for children of all ages. That compared to just a few STEM-focused programs previously.

Davenport, who spent most of her career as a library associate, has lots of experience working with her immediate school community, but her job as coordinator expands her customer service to the entire school system and community. “This initiative…clearly displays the public library’s ability to enhance the education received in the classroom. School is the meat and potatoes, but we get to be the dessert,” she says. The expansion was funded by a grant she wrote that yielded $15,000.

“Shelley spearheaded a major change in children’s programming philosophy and practice,” says nominator and AACPL virtual services manager Stephanie Petruso. Davenport led a task force that prioritized early childhood literacy outreach; established the new role of early literacy specialist (previously programmers were all “generalists”); standardized procedures, policies, and goals; created early literacy program kits; and collaborated with early education organizations like the local Early Childhood Coalition and Judy Center.

“We’re basically going from each of our 15 branches offering approximately 24 literacy programs a year to each branch offering around 144 a year, both in and out of the library,” says Davenport. The initiative aims to ensure equality and quality of service across branches. As of February 2014, 46 (out of a projected 50) early literacy specialists—some new hires, some already on staff at AACPL who have a passion for working with young children—had been trained.

Davenport—who says “my career slowed a little” when her four children, including triplets, were young—has a background in PR and describes her role in the recent culture shift at AACPL as part salesperson, part cheerleader. “[Libraries are] an integral piece of the [early childhood literacy] puzzle,” especially for at-risk/underserved children, she says. She aims to make AACPL’s branches go-to spaces for families and children. “I say we turn libraries into community centers full of life!”

Share
Create the Library Your Community or Campus Needs
LTC Online Course Join Library Journal and a roster of design experts for our latest 4-week interactive online course. Starting January 27, 2016, Library Design Workshop will guide participants through complex issues of library space design projects such as space programming, fundraising, and finding the right design team.
  • Develop a roadmap to create a flexible library space suited to your community.
  • Inspiring ideas, concepts, and perspectives from leaders in the library design field.
  • Build a framework to create a robust report for key stakeholders.
Lead the Change logoLTC register Lead the Change
Library Journal's Lead the Change offers timely resources and tools to stay ahead of the innovations and changes impacting the library profession. Library staff at all levels can participate in hands-on live events, access insightful on-demand webcasts, and enroll in LTC Leadership Academy - Online, a new online learning program that will help staff learn essential skills to advance their careers, solve problems unique to their libraries, and put strategic plans into action. LEARN MORE

Comments

  1. Vera Shade says:

    Anne Arundel County Public Library is fortunate to have such a mover and shaker to help launch their early literacy initiative!

  2. I have only been a part of the library system for 5 months, but it is a true privilege working with Shelley. It only takes a few minutes to see her real passion for early literacy, learning and libraries. Her enthusiasm is contagious and and her energy and authenticity are inspiring.