February 17, 2018

Wendy Wilcox | Movers & Shakers 2005

Growing Readers


In 2001 youth services librarian Wendy Wilcox begged her boss for the chance to make West Bloomfield Township Public Library (WBTPL) one of 20 demonstration sites for the Public Library Association (PLA)/Association for Library Service to Children initiative Every Child Ready To Read.

While all participating libraries teach parents and caregivers the same research about promoting early literacy, they adapt it to their specific community’s needs. Wilcox believed her affluent community needed high-quality research-based materials to engage parents with the importance of reading to young children and cultivating foundation skills.

Wilcox and her team invited the community into the process. They showed a mock-up of the “Grow Up Reading” packet to teachers, media specialists, and parents and used their feedback to modify it. Her packet, as stylishly designed as any Fortune 500 annual report, includes the PLA-provided information, plus nursery rhymes, songs and finger plays, games to develop literacy skills, and a “100 Books To Read in Kindergarten” poster. The packet is distributed via a mass mailing and at local playgroups, daycare centers, and preschools. Another packet, “Especially for Kindergarteners and Their Parents,” is delivered to each kindergarten child. Clara Bohrer, director of WBTPL, says, “Parents, teachers, and school administrators cannot stop raving about this proactive program.”

Bohrer says Wilcox brings the same flair to the look and feel of the children’s rooms, making them “ever-changing active learning environments that engage all their senses.” How better to keep families coming back than to offer them something new and different every time and make reading and learning joyous activities for kids and parents alike?



Current Position Youth Services Coordinator, West Bloomfield Township Public Library, MI

Degree MLS, University of South Florida, 1998

Award 2001 John Cotton Dana Library Public Relations Award

Strength Training Compulsively rearranges her furniture