November 24, 2017

Julie Scoskie | Movers & Shakers 2016 – Educators

Julie Scoskie

CURRENT POSITION

Director, Education & Outreach, Louisville Free Public Library, KY

DEGREE

PhD, Educational and Organizational Leadership, University of Louisville, KY, 1981

HONORS

Mayor’s Award for Innovation

FOLLOW

@LFPL (Twitter); louisvillefreepubliclibrary (Instagram); LouisvilleFreePublicLibrary (Facebook)

Photo ©2016 Shawn G. Henry

Passion for Partnerships

Three years ago, Julie Scoskie, then director of community support and adult education for Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, KY, never expected to be working in a library. When an opportunity arose to combine her passions of outreach and literacy, however, she couldn’t resist. With fierce determination, she has succeeded in securing partnerships and collaborations for Louisville Free Public Library (LFPL) that have drawn the attention of the White House for innovative services to the community.

Barely a month into her new job, in September 2013, Scoskie partnered with Code Louisville—a program that connects un- and underemployed individuals to technology jobs—by providing free coding classes through Treehouse, a library online learning platform. As of 2015, 563 Louisville residents have completed the 12-week course, with many securing technology jobs as a result. “In an economy where many jobs do not provide self-sustaining wages, offering someone a chance at a high-paying career through free education is a true lifeline,” says Scoskie. LFPL was not only nationally recognized for its effort, but the program helped the city secure a $2.9 million federal grant to expand Code Louisville, notes LFPL director Jim Blanton (a 2012 Mover & Shaker), who nominated Scoskie.

Working with the school district to counteract kindergarten unpreparedness among nearly 50 percent of local children, Scoskie helped bring the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, which had begun in Bremen, IN, to LFPL in 2014. It challenges families and caregivers to read 1,000 books with their young children before they enter kindergarten. More than 17,000 preschoolers have participated, with some 3,000 meeting the goal as of late 2015.

One of Scoskie’s most noteworthy projects involved a local book production company that wanted to donate 149,000 children’s books to the library. The catch: the library would be responsible for transporting and housing all of the books before January 2015, with only a few days’ notice. Relying on her communitywide network, including Metro United Way and the schools, Scoskie was able to secure trucks to move the materials to a storage facility and arrange for them to be distributed. To take full advantage of the donation, she designed a program, Share 100 Stories Before 4th Grade, whereby every student in kindergarten through third grade can get a starter book, and, when they reach their goal, a prize book. Scoskie also led the library to achieve its highest-ever Summer Reading attendance, with 30,500 children completing the program in 2015.

“Helping to establish a love of reading is priceless,” says Scoskie. “There are few things more empowering than improving literacy.”

This article was published in Library Journal's March 15, 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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