February 17, 2018

Cheryl Space | Movers & Shakers 2006

Literacy and Learning


Literacy, learning, and community define Cheryl Space’s commitment to librarianship. ‘There are opportunities to talk, sing, read, and listen everywhere children go,’ she says, so it makes sense that she develops collaborations with local organizations. Among those collaborations is Providence Public Library’s (PPL) partnership with Ready To Learn Providence (R2LP), which for the past two years has funded professional development, partnerships, library programs, and staff. Space herself participated on R2LP’s Transition to Kindergarten committee; her work there inspired a forthcoming ‘Transition to Kindergarten’ calendar highlighting children’s books.

Space’s programming focuses on early literacy as well. PPL’s ‘Cradle to Crayons’ program targets parents of one- to three-year-olds, providing playtime, storytime, and one-on-one time with a community resource specialist. Bilingual outreach specialists have increased participation by Spanish-speaking families, and now PPL works with AmeriCorps to reach day care providers as well.

Space was also part of the original training team for the ‘Mother Goose Asks, Why?’ science skills program for parents of three- to eight-year-olds, which she has led at Head Start, a local literacy center, and the library. The program has expanded into other ‘Mother Goose’ – themed programs on math and early literacy.

Continuing to extend the library’s reach, Space helped create almost 200 thematic, literature-based Learning and Reading Kits (LARKs) to circulate to toddler through kindergarten classrooms. ‘So many children in Providence spend their days in center-based and home-based child care settings,’ says Space. LARKs ‘are easy to use and filled with the rhymes, songs, and books the centers need to foster early literacy and enthusiasm for books and reading!’ The library also circulates similar math (Math PIE) and science (SLICE) kits to elementary school teachers.

Space coordinates an annual preschool STARS (Singing, Talking, Acting, Reading, Science) conference or author event for child care providers and educators, which includes info on library services. LARK circulation has since tripled. ‘Early literacy must be a communitywide ­effort,’ she says.



Current Position Coordinator of Children’s Programs, Providence Public Library
Degrees MLIS, University of South Carolina, 1994
Memorable Moment A 2005 trip to Ethiopia to adopt her baby girl