Delaware Libraries Launch 2018 Statewide Summer Library Challenge

Delaware’s First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney will kick off the statewide 2018 Summer Library Challenge, Libraries Rock, this week at public libraries in all three counties. She will be joined by special guests Turtle Dance Music, an autism/sensory-friendly performance group.

The kick-off events are:

“Promoting early literacy and school readiness is a critical part of giving all of Delaware’s children a ‘first chance’ to succeed,” said First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney. “The library habit is about literacy, as well as parent-child engagement and access to other services that support strong and healthy families. To support our families and a First Chance for all of our children, I encourage every Delawarean to get and use a Delaware library card.”

Delaware libraries are noted for hosting the longest running statewide public library summer reading program in the nation.  Now in its 39th year, the annual Summer Library Challenge provides early literacy programs to help children build and develop reading and language skills; teen programs that motivate teens to read and discuss literature; and programs that encourage adults to experience the joy of reading.

“Librarians help to generate a passion for reading and learning,” said Governor John Carney. “A healthy reading habit motivates, inspires, encourages creativity and prevents the summer slide.”

“For more than 39 years — for generations of Delawareans — Delaware libraries have been cultivating reading and learning passions,” said State Librarian, Dr. Annie Norman. “Whatever your interest, whatever your talent, the library supports it.”

Young “pre-readers” (children who can’t read yet) can get credit for books that are read to them.  Throughout the summer, libraries provide a variety of fun and educational arts, cultural, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs to encourage reading and spark curiosity.

Registration for the Summer Library Challenge is free in-person at all public libraries or online. Incentive prizes are awarded based on reading and activity milestones.  Delaware libraries encourage Delawareans of all ages to track their reading and learning during the summer and throughout life.  A variety of tips, tools, and techniques for tracking individual interests are available on the Unleash Inner Genius guide.

The following programs for children will be presented at all public libraries throughout the state; visit the Summer Library Challenge guide for the schedule of events and additional information:

  • Rock the Mic: Hip-Hop & Literacy with musician Baba Bomani, in partnership with the Delaware Division of the Arts.
  • Unexpected Heroes: India Tales presented by New Moon Theater, in partnership with the Delaware Division of the Arts.
  • Science Rocks! learn how sounds are made and how we hear them with the Delaware Aerospace Education Foundation.
  • Libraries Rock discover the fascinating world of rocks with the Delaware Nature Society

Summer arts programs are supported by the Delaware Division of Libraries and, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. The Division of Arts promotes Delaware arts events on

Turtle Dance Music furthers early childhood development, autism awareness, music education, STEM, and arts integration through incredible and fun sensory-friendly shows. These performances are supported by Autism Delaware, the Delaware Division of the Arts, and the Delaware Division of Libraries.

Autism Delaware’s mission is to help people and families affected by autism. Their vision is that all people with autism have opportunities to learn, grow and live full lives as included and valued members of their communities.

The Delaware Division of Libraries, a state agency dedicated to unleashing the potential in all Delawareans in partnership with Delaware Libraries, offers free access to the online catalog (; Wi-Fi; computers/internet; eBooks; programs/workshops; community partnerships; and more.

Celebrate National Library Week April 8-14

(Dover, DE) – This week, Delaware joins libraries nationwide in celebrating the many ways libraries enrich their communities through the transformative services and expertise they offer.

April 8-14, 2018 is National Library Week, the annual celebration of the life-changing work of libraries, librarians, and library workers. People of all ages can collaborate, try out new technologies, and develop their skills and passions at Delaware libraries throughout the state.

“We are privileged to partner with our libraries to transform lives through the First Chance Delaware initiative,” said Delaware’s First Lady, Tracey Quillen Carney. “Our goal is to ensure that all of Delaware’s children have a ‘first chance’ to succeed. Certainly, promoting early literacy and school readiness is a critical part of that work; and in addition, libraries are playing an increasingly important role as centers of community life. So the library habit is about literacy, and also about parent-child engagement and access to other services that support strong and healthy families. To support our families and a first chance for all our children, I encourage every Delawarean to get and use a Delaware library card.”

“Delaware has made a great investment in upgrading the services offered to residents in our 33 public libraries across the state,” said Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock. “What’s great about Delaware librarians is their enthusiasm and willingness to adapt to the changing needs of the community,”

Through partnerships, libraries can extend the reach and effectiveness of partner capabilities and resources and foster collaboration. “Libraries level the playing field for people of any age who seek information and access to technologies to improve their quality of life.” said Deputy Secretary of State Courtney Stewart.

Although studies show that in the public’s mind the library brand is “books,” this week showcases libraries’ role to support all topics as a place to “get things done.” As technology evolves, libraries continuously keep pace to ensure individuals and communities excel. Resources like eBooks and technology classes, materials for English-language learners, and programs for job seekers are just a few ways libraries recently — and continuously — transform and lead in their communities.

“Libraries are making experiences come alive, off the page, for our communities,” said Dr. Annie Norman, State Librarian. “Libraries are a linchpin for discovery in all subject areas, and we are working with partners and experts to make available a greater array of experiences for our communities. So Delawareans have the opportunity they might not have otherwise to discover a passion, to develop an expertise, and to make connections to support invention and innovation.”

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April.

Find more information about your local libraries at

About the Delaware Library Association

The Delaware Library Association is a chapter of the American Library Association, and its mission is to promote the profession of librarianship, to advocate for library services, and to provide information and services for Delawareans. DLA is the only statewide association that represents all types of libraries including academic, public, school, and special libraries.

About the Delaware Division of Libraries

The Delaware Division of Libraries, a state agency dedicated to unleashing the potential in all Delawareans in partnership with Delaware Libraries, offers free access to the online catalog (; Wi-Fi; computers/internet; eBooks, programs/workshops, community partnerships, and more.

#FirstChanceDE, #GetaLibraryCardDE


Governor Carney Recognizes State Social Workers

Governor signs proclamation marking March as Social Work Month

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Thursday recognized the role of Delaware’s social workers as he signed a proclamation marking Social Work Month. The Governor signed the proclamation during an event at the Wilmington Public Library, one of seven libraries statewide where since January social workers have been stationed once a week to answer questions and connect patrons to social services.

“Social workers are a vital source of support for many individuals, families and communities here in Wilmington and throughout our state,” said Governor Carney. “The Social Worker at the Library program is just one way these compassionate, dedicated individuals help others cope and thrive in the face of life’s challenges, and help us build a stronger and healthier Delaware.”
Governor Carney signs Social Work Proclamation
At the libraries, social workers guide patrons through the state’s online benefits application process, steer them to resources that provide basic needs like food, shelter, clothing, health care, child care, and education; connect them with services to treat addiction or address domestic violence; and help them get training and opportunities to find and keep jobs with decent wages. This onsite assistance is provided in addition to the help available at the 15 state service centers.

The social workers who staff the libraries come from the Department of Health and Social Services’ (DHSS) Community Partner Support Unit, operated within the Division of Social Services.

“Our social workers are meeting the community where they are,” said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary of DHSS and board-certified family physician. “As a doctor, I know some of the things my patients need such as housing, employment or transportation can’t be provided through a prescription. In the libraries, our social workers are finding another way to connect individuals to those support services.”

Libraries were identified as a natural fit for this outreach since many people who need assistance are already library patrons.

“Delaware libraries have become ‘force-multipliers’ for community outreach and engagement across the state,” said Dr. Courtney Stewart, Deputy Secretary of State. “This is another outstanding example of the added value our libraries can provide by partnering with agencies and organizations across the social services spectrum.”

“The Division of Libraries is delighted to have the expertise of social workers in libraries to assist patrons in need,” said Dr. Annie Norman, Delaware’s State Librarian. “Now more than 150 agencies and nonprofits are partnering with libraries to extend their reach and effectiveness in providing services to Delawareans across the state.”

Social workers have helped about 150 people since the program’s launch.

“I was homeless for a couple of months, staying in abandoned buildings, on the streets, even benches. I basically broke down and told [social worker Chloe Mayo] my situation,” said Sharis Purnell, a 27-year-old Wilmington woman who recently found help through the Social Worker at the Library program. “She literally called everyone, all the shelters [and other emergency housing resources]. Everything is going to be OK. I’m staying positive. Just when I thought no one cared, I opened my mouth and got the help I needed.”

With additional help from the library staff and from the nonprofit Housing Alliance Delaware, Purnell was offered a temporary bed at the Salvation Army in Wilmington and has been accepted into that organization’s rapid rehousing program, which provides temporary housing subsidies to families and single women. She is also getting help applying for jobs.

“Sharis is 27; my son is 27. If my son ever had a problem, I would want someone to treat him the way I treat Sharis. They’re all our children,” said Chloe Mayo, a social worker in the Division of Social Services. “She’s not going to be able to get rid of me until she’s able to show me she’s on a path to success in life. I see her doing great things.”

Library patrons in Kent and Sussex counties are also benefiting from the social workers’ presence.

Social worker Mel Mahoney recently helped a man complete an online job application in the Dover Library when the applicant did not have a computer or know how to operate one. The man later informed Mahoney that he had been hired for the position.

At the Frankford Library in Sussex County, social worker Dorian Baker has been working with a man in his 60s who needed help applying for medical assistance following a recent stroke, and has returned to the library frequently with questions for Baker about his benefits.

The Division of Social Services has received positive responses to the library pilot program and is placing social workers from the Community Partner Support Unit at other pivotal sites, especially in and around Wilmington.

“We are present at the Hicks Anderson Community Center, Latin American Community Center, and the Department of Correction’s Cherry Lane Probation and Parole Office in New Castle,” said Ray Fitzgerald, Director of the Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Social Services. “And we’re walking the beat with Wilmington’s community-police unit as part of the city’s West Center City neighborhood stabilization effort. It’s all about increasing access to services by going where our clients are.”

Here’s the statewide schedule for the Social Worker at the Library program:

• North Wilmington Public Library, 34th and Market streets, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Fridays
• Wilmington Public Library, 10 E. 10th St., Rodney Square, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays
• Route 9 Library, 3022 New Castle Ave., New Castle, 1 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays
• Dover Public Library, 35 Loockerman Plaza, 9 a.m. to noon Wednesdays
• Seaford Public Library, 600 N. Market St. Extension, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Mondays
• Selbyville Public Library, 11 S. Main St., 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Thursdays
• Frankford Public Library, 8 Main St., 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursdays


Social Workers at the Libraries
Governor Carney’s 2018 State of the State
Pilot Program Will Connect Library Patrons to State Services

Pilot Program Will Connect Library Patrons to State Services

Delaware state social workers have begun providing assistance at libraries in all three counties under a pilot program launched by the Delaware Division of Libraries and the Department of Health and Social Services.

Two social workers from the Division of Social Services’ Community Partner Support Unit are now available once per week for three hours at seven libraries across the state.

Social workers can guide patrons through the state’s online benefits application process, assist individuals in applying for food benefits, help applicants gather necessary documents, connect eligible families and individuals with employment and training resources, and connect with other DHSS agencies to answer questions as needed. This onsite assistance is in addition to the help available at the 15 State Service Centers located statewide.

Public libraries are an ideal setting for the delivery of social services. As centers for community engagement and access to technology, people in need of assistance in many cases are already library patrons.

“This partnership enables libraries to leverage DHSS expertise in assisting library patrons with meeting their needs,” said Deputy Secretary of State Dr. Courtney Stewart. “Our libraries have evolved into force-multipliers for community outreach, and adding social services to the compliment of resources available through our libraries is a perfect fit.”

“Every day, in all Delaware public libraries, people come through the doors seeking assistance on a variety of topics, including social services,” said State Librarian Dr. Annie Norman. “This pilot project reflects the reality that critical needs have become more pronounced.”

“Connecting people to services as easily and efficiently as possible is what we aim to do every day, and this program is a great example of that,” said Ray Fitzgerald, director of DHSS’ Division of Social Services. “Library patrons will receive face-to-face contact with a social worker who can help them on the spot and, as needed, connect them to other beneficial services and programs. We hope this will ease the process for those seeking services while freeing library staff to concentrate on patrons’ other needs.”

Currently, more than 150 agencies and nonprofits are collaborating with Delaware libraries to provide services to patrons across the state.

“Through Delaware Partners, our goal is to extend the reach and effectiveness of partner capabilities and resources and foster collaboration,” said Dr. Norman, “We’re delighted to add the specialized expertise of DHSS social workers in our libraries.”

The schedule for social workers in Delaware libraries is as follows:

2018 Teen Video Challenge

Libraries Rock graphic





The Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) and the Delaware Division of Libraries (DDL) invite teens to participate in the 2018 Teen Video Challenge. Teens can create a 30 to 90 second video with their unique interpretation of the 2018 slogan Libraries Rock! This is an opportunity for teens to display their creativity and have their ideas heard before a national audience.

The 2018 Teen Video Challenge is a national video competition for teens to get involved with reading and their public library’s summer reading program.  CSLP is a consortium consisting of public libraries and state library agencies throughout the United States, several islands and territories.  The members of this consortium work together to provide high quality summer reading materials for public libraries to use in their summer programs birth through senior citizens.

One video will be selected as the Delaware winner and receive a $100 cash prize and $50 in prizes for their local public library. In addition, all state winning videos will be official 2018 CSLP PSAs and viewed nationally.

For more information and complete contest rules visit