Stories of Meaningful Change


Stories from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

Literacy Spotlight: Flint Public Library

Leslie Acevedo, Director of Library Operations, Flint Public Library

The Flint Water Crisis demanded that we respond to the profound outpouring of local and national support for Flint's children exposed to lead. It also shined a bright spotlight on Genesee County's need for high-quality early childhood learning and literacy programs, echoing what we learned from the community in 2013. Fortunately, our community-building efforts before the Water Crisis gave us a strong foundation, as we were better organized, experienced and already working together. As a result of all of these factors, our literacy work has more momentum now than ever before. CFGF continues to play the role of facilitator and connector for our literacy providers and partners, and we remain committed to "catalytic philanthropy." We are still fighting fiercely for the future of Flint.

"Literacy efforts go right in line with the vision we have for our library in this community. When the Literacy Network began, we were also doing strategic planning due to the Library's budget cuts. The Literacy Network helped us be strategic in where to put our efforts." The Network, in bringing partners together to collaborate, allows groups to see where there are gaps and services and also duplication of efforts. These collaborative relationships allowed the Library to feel confident in focusing on its specialties, early literacy and digital literacy.

The Library has faced tremendous budget cuts over the last nine years, which led to the closing of all three branch libraries and reduced hours at the main branch. "Once we closed our branches and noticed library participation was
shrinking, we knew we had to do something. We decided that if the public can't come to us, then we're going to go to them." The Library now implements "Every Child Ready to Read" events at Flint Housing Sites, Youth Quest after school enrichment, Y Safe Places, community and neighborhood events, and the Police Athletic Leagues.