University of South Carolina

New home for children's books, Cocky

By Megan Sexton, msexton@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-1421

The literacy research is clear: The No. 1 indicator of whether children will be able to read at grade level is tied to whether they have access to books.

For South Carolina’s children, parents, librarians and teachers, that access got easier this week, with the opening of the new home for the South Carolina Center for Children’s Books and Literacy.

Now located in the South Carolina State Library building at 1430 Senate St. (with the entrance on the Bull Street side of the building), the center offers twice as much space as its previous location across the street. An outreach of the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science,the center features a literacy lab with space for continuing education workshops and child literacy classes.

BooksIt also houses the library’s permanent and special collections, including award-winning books, children’s poetry, folk and fairy tales, holiday stories, three-dimension books and books targeted at children and teens. There are books for reluctant readers (meaning they are written on a lower grade level yet cover topics that would be interesting for teen readers). There are books for every age, reading level and topic – offering teachers and student teachers the chance to figure out lesson plans and introduce high-quality books to their students.

And Cocky lives there, too.

The center is home to Cocky’s Reading Express, the popular literacy program that provides quality books to children in schools throughout South Carolina, along with visits from USC student volunteers and the Carolina mascot. (The program just gave out its 50,000th book last week).

The Center for Children’s Books and Literacy held its grand opening Monday, showing off its new home to the community.

“It has made us more accessible to the university and our community partners. It gives us greater visibility and access,” said Kim Jeffcoat, the center’s director. “As we train our future teachers and librarians, we need to give them maximum access to quality children’s books and young adult books. As a teaching and learning tool, books are not going away.” The center also is getting set to add to its collection of books – by adding “book publisher” to its list of responsibilities.

For the first time, the USC Press will publish children’s literature in 2013, with the start of Young Palmetto Books. Jeffcoat said the press plans to publish five children’s or young adult books about South Carolina or written or illustrated by a South Carolinian next year.

Jeffcoat is the series editor for Young Palmetto Books, and she is joined by USC faculty members and outside authors who help in selecting the books to publish.

“We can publish the things we are looking for, the things the fit in our curriculum,” she said. “And we have such wonderful writers and illustrators in South Carolina. It’s a win-win-win.”

The S.C. Center for Children's Books and Literacy

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Posted: 10/09/12 @ 10:00 AM | Updated: 10/18/12 @ 9:11 AM | Permalink