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Ellinwood Community Library honored for Literacy Program
ell kl alpha bag
Josh Ringering is the child in the picture and he is holding an Alpha Bag with his AWESOME Club card.

The Ellinwood School\Community Library was recently honored as one of four runner-up finalists for the 2013 AWE, Inc. Literacy Success Award. Ellinwood was nominated for their pre-school and emergent-reader initiative called the AWESOME Club, a literacy engagement program that encourages children ages 2-6 and their families to participate in various literacy activities.
“This award recognizes the work libraries do to promote literacy and learning in their communities,” said Paul Getzen, Director of U.S. Library Sales for AWE. “This year’s entry total was the highest yet! We are always so impressed by all the amazing programs happening in libraries. This is just another testament to the vital role public libraries play in our society.”
In Ellinwood’s AWESOME Club, every child that is part of the program gets an AWESOME Club card that is punched when they complete a literacy activity. When their card is completely punched, they win a prize. The program is designed to combine fun with learning.
The first AWESOME Club component that earns a punch is an AWE Early Literacy Station computer session. The wide variety of literacy related programs available on the AWE computer are an integral part of the AWESOME Club success. The library has two AWE computers available for children to use when they visit the library.
The second AWESOME Club component is the Alpha Bags program. Alpha Bags are backpacks filled with all kinds of fun literacy resources, and each bag is designed for a different letter of the alphabet. The backpacks check out just like books to children and families. With every Alpha Bag checkout, children earn a punch on their AWESOME Club card.
Both components of the AWESOME Club, the AWE computer stations and the Alpha Bags, were funded through grants from the Ellinwood Public Education and Library Foundation.
“Although only a few months into the program, The AWESOME Club has already had tremendous success,” noted Sharon Sturgis, Director of the Ellinwood School Community Library. “Families just love the Alpha Bags, and the AWE computer makes learning exciting.”
The Ellinwood School Community Library offers other related literacy programs for families including Books for Babies, the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Tumblebooks for Kids, Story Hour, and participation in the State Library’s 6 X 6 program.
The 2013 Literacy Success Award winning program was submitted by Homewood, Ill. Their program was “Storyhour on the Road”. This program involved library staff taking story time on tour to a variety of interesting locations in their service area including local parks, commercial stores, a fire station, a fast food restaurant, an  a farmer’s market.
Besides Ellinwood’s AWESOME Club, other runner-up finalists included Listen @ the Library from the Stark County District Library in Canton, Ohio; OWLs Book Club from Howland Public Library in Beacon, N.Y, part of the New York City Metro area; and Skills Challenge from Orange County Library System in Orlando, Fla.