Pinewoods Named as Finalist for "Best Small Library in America" Award

The Pinewoods branch was named a finalist for the Library Journal's 2009 "Best Small Library in America" Award. To read the full story, please click here.

National Leadership Grants for Library-Museum Collaboration

The Athens-Clarke County Library in partnership with the Lyndon House Arts Center is working to enhance cultural understanding and educational opportunities for the local Mexican-American community and the greater Athens community. A three year Leadership grant enables the library and arts center to conduct this exciting pilot project titled "Bridging the Gap Family to Family: Athenian-Mexican Cultural Exchange and Learning." Project goals include:

Bridging the Gap Family to Family: Athenian-Mexican Cultural Exchange and Learning.

Each month, project staff will post key project activities. Join us on our journey!


Summer 2007 Healthcare Report
Year III Report
Programs and Goals
February 2007
January 2007


Year II Report
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
Lyndon House Exhibit, June 27 - July 29 2006
Summer Programs
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006

2005 / 2004

August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005

December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004

February 2007

February 15th: The Pinewoods Branch Library had a celebration on February 15, 2007, in honor of Black History Month. The celebration was held in an effort to bring together the different cultures of Athens. It was extremely successful, with approximately 80 people attending, including prominent members of the Athens community. Many people spoke, addressing the issues of diversity and working together to build a stronger community. Included in the speakers were Miguel Vicente, manager at the Pinewoods Library and Learning Center, Bo Ryles, involved in the 4-H program at the University of Georgia, Peter Cofrie and Jeff Buckley, area 4-H program leaders, Kevin Thompson, minister at the Athens Church of Christ, Louis Romero, student in the ESL classes at the library, and several Pinewoods community members including Homberto and Noe Mendoza and Kimbrough Williford.

This diverse group of Athens community members came together to celebrate with traditional Spanish food and music, while the children enjoyed games and prizes. The food was provided by the community and generously donated from Cali n'Tito's Restaurant, Food Not Bombs and Full Plate catering services. This was a great opportunity to bring together the diverse cultures of the Athens community.

February 22nd: Pinewoods library hosted several people from Clayton County on February 22, 2007. The visit was organized by Dr. Glenn Ames, Director of UGA's Public Service and Outreach. The visitors included Rosa Sanchez from the Cooperative Extension Service with Clayton County; Janice Arcuria from the Clayton Library System; Krista Mullins, educational seminar coordinator; Shenita Scott from the Clayton Library System; Sharon Gibson from the UGA Extension faculty, and Kim Seibert from the Clayton County Extension office. They were here to learn about the Pinewoods community center because they would like to replicate our facility in Clayton County. Pinewoods is truly fulfilling its mission to serve as a pilot project to demonstrate our programs for other agencies in Georgia and hope that programs like our can benefit the entire state.

January 2007

Beginning January 2007: The Pinewoods Library and Community Learning Center will be starting a recycling program. Leslie McAbee, volunteer art teacher, is helping implement the program. There are two bins, one for paper and the other for plastic, glass, and cans. This is an educational program that teaches the members of our community about conserving our environment. The recycling services of Athens have also offered to have one of their staff members come to the library to speak about the environment and why recycling is helpful.

patrons learning English patrons learning English

January 23rd: Pinewoods Library is beginning a new program for adults who are participating in our English classes. As of January 23rd students from UGA will come to the library before English class begins to engage in a mutual learning activity with the students. The UGA students do not speak fluent Spanish, and they will be improving their language skills through conversation with our ESL students, while at the same time our ESL students will be improving their English through communication with the UGA students. The activity is organized by Dr. Maria A. Saenz, and the students she will be bringing are as follows: Jesse Solomon, Ukiah Busch, Booke Bates, Christopher MacLean, Rebecca Graves, Ronjon Barnerjee, Catie Johnson, Ethan Brown, and Katie Royston. We are very excited about this new program, and hope to see a marked improvement in our classes after adopting this new learning activity.

December 2006

December 4th: On December 4, 2006, Teresa Burden, a reporter from the "El Universal Newspaper," in Mexico City, came to the Pinewoods Library to interview patrons and Administrators of this center. Among the people interviewed were Kathryn Ames, Director of Athens Regional Library, Miguel Vicente, Pinewoods Library Coordinator, Humberto and Noe Mendoza, Abel and Librada Diaz, Dolores Mandu, Yiliana Solares, and Aramis Vicente, members of the Spanish-speaking Community in Athens. Teresa collected a vast amount of information for a story that covered the Pinewoods Library from the beginning; including the proposal for the IMLS grant, implementation of the program, and also the services offered to the community and evaluation of these services by the Pinewoods' patrons. The Universal Newspaper principally circulates in Mexico City, but has a new circulation in Atlanta and its surrounding cities.

November 2006

November 20th: Thanksgiving Activity - On November 20th, one of the Pinewoods Library tutors, Cheri Singleton, organized a Thanksgiving activity for the children. There were approximately 20 children who participated in two art projects for the children, including making turkeys with lists of things to be thankful for on their tail feathers and Thanksgiving card-making. Cheri also read several Thanksgiving stories and presented a brief background lesson in the history of Thanksgiving. At the end of the activities, she prepared some snacks there were representative of the food eaten at the first Thanksgiving. While the children enjoyed the games, crafts, and stories, it was a very good cultural experience for the children.

October 2006

October 2006 - March 2007: Over the past six months, we have been continuing with all of our successful programs. Art classes were expanded to 4 days a week (Mon-Thurs), with the art teacher coming Monday and Tuesdays and our volunteer Leslie McAbee coming Wednesdays and Thursdays. English classes have also been expanded to four days a week, with the advanced class on Monday and Wednesdays and the beginners' class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Enrollment is now over 20 people. Supplemental English classes are offered through the Open Book program. The Rotary Club recently received grant funding for 20 new licenses for this software. Computer classes continue for those who want to improve typing skills and internet usage skills. The tutoring program is thriving with many eager volunteers from UGA who come Mon through Thurs to help the kids in the community with homework after school.

Motivational Speaker, Oct 2006
October 3rd: Motivational Speaker - On Tuesday, October 3rd, Adriana Robinson came to speak with some of the Pinewoods community members. Adriana is a former student from the Pinewoods Computer classes, and much of her computer skills are owed to the program here at Pinewoods. Adriana now has a salaried job with Community Connections, which is owed greatly to her computer skills. She came to help motivate the current students in the English and computer classes to continue with their hard work by presenting her success as an example. She also gave a presentation on childrearing for the students. Adriana is the perfect example of the success of our programs here at Pinewoods, and we sincerely hope that her example motivates other members in the community to achieve the successes that she has achieved.

October 16th: Sexual Assault Center of Northeast Georgia - On October 16th, the Pinewoods Library was privileged to have Savannah Weaver, from the Sexual Assault Center of Northeast Georgia, speak with fifteen of our female patrons concerning the topic of rape and sexual assault. Patrons were taught certain phrases in both English and Spanish that would be useful if they became a sexual assault victim.

In addition to providing contact information in case of an incident, Ms. Weaver also informed our patrons of the services available through the Center. Helpful guidelines were also furnished describing the appropriate steps to follow if you were ever victimized.

The presentation was very informative for everyone, and the Pinewoods Library is proud to participate in educating women of their rights and providing such valuable information for sexual assault victims.

Mayor and Meza Maria playing drums Inca Tupec provided flute and guitar music

October 28 - November 6: Art Professor, Fernando Meza, from the University of Veracruzana was a special guest of the Library and Lyndon House Arts Center from October 28-November 6, 2006. Accompanying him was Bertha Murietta who is Director of the School for Foreign Students at UV.

Fernando Meza teaching the class while Berta Murietta helps by writing notes Close-up of Fernando teaching Fernando teaching the class.
On Tuesday, October 31st, Mexican artist, Fernando Meza, visited the Pinewoods library as a part of his Artist in Residence program. He gave a brief photography lesson, called "Dibujando con la luz," or "drawing with light," for the patrons of the library. He explained the inner working of a camera and gave tips on how to have clearer shots. He answered everyone's questions about photography thoroughly and with enthusiasm. At the end of the lesson, he distributed disposable cameras provided by the Friends of the Library and assigned them homework. The people who attended the class were asked to take three pictures, one close-up, one from farther away, and one landscape. The photos that the attendees of the class take will be displayed at the Lyndon House, where there will be a reception with refreshments. The visit began with a lecture at the Library about Mexican art. Fernando discussed symbolism as reflected throughout the history of art and illustrated his presentation with photos of well known works. The Friends of the Library hosted a reception and Inca Tupec provided music. Our own Maria Duarte joined the group to sing some traditional Mexican songs.

Fernando provided a photography seminar for the adults of the community. Twenty-five adults gathered and learned about the history of photography, and the importance of light and angles. Seven of the adults in the class were given a Polaroid camera to take three pictures each and apply what they learned about light and angles. The photographs were exhibited at the Lyndon House Arts Center on November 5, 2006 during a Mexican Fiesta. After the lesson, the community and Professor Meza gathered around the altar of the Day of the Dead to eat snacks and drink hot chocolate.

The week went by quickly with programs at the Pinewoods Branch for Dia de los Muertos, a photography workshop, and art classes for the children. He also visited several schools and art classes at the University of Georgia. In addition, the Lyndon House hosted a program for the Photography Guild and a highlight was the Fiesta! on Sunday, November 5. Photos taken by residents of Pinewoods were displayed and critiqued; Fernando's art was on exhibit; and the Family to Family program was very successful! Inca Tupec took part in the program providing flute and guitar music.

The week went by very quickly, but it was an outstanding opportunity for the community to meet this artist and photographer and to learn more about Mexican art. The exhibit at the Lyndon House accompanied the weeklong visit.

This program was made possible by a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the Friends of the Library, Office of Public Service and Outreach at UGA, and El Banco de la Opportunidad.

Traditional Day of the Dead altar Trick-or-Treators Young Trick-or-Treator joined in the fun
October 31st: Halloween - The Pinewoods Library and Learning Center celebrated Halloween with children in costume and trick or treat events complete with candy and authentic Mexican hot chocolate. The Library also prepared an altar for the Day of the Dead, the Mexican holiday that celebrates the lives of lost loved ones. The altar includes sugar skulls, paper flowers, masks by the children, and traditional Mexican paper cuttings.

September 2006

September 14th - One of the most memorable events of September was the Mexican Independence Day celebration we held on September 14th. We had food donated from prominent Mexican Restaurants in Athens, including La Parilla, Los Pepes, and Agua Linda. Hundreds of people from the Latin Community came to celebrate with food, music, and games. There was a Pinata and face-painting for the children, and the adults enjoyed the Sounds of Latin America over the loudspeaker. The Athens Banner-Herald visited and we were proud to grace the front page the next morning. Overall, it was a wonderful time to celebrate the rich culture that this community is based around.

September 21st - On September 21, 2006, Miguel Vicente presented a program at the annual Georgia Library Association/COMO in Athens. He helped in the presentation on the topic "Reaching Out to your Hispanic Population." The presentation hoped to encourage attendees to reach the Hispanic population through marketing techniques, technical training, community partnerships, and understanding cultural differences.

Spread the word about Pinewoods, Sept 2006
September 29th - The children of the Pinewoods community participated in a new activity by helping Miguel and Nicol spread the word about the wonderful resources available to everyone through the Pinewoods Library. The children actively participated in reaching out to the families in the community who may not be aware of the opportunities for a better life available to them through Pinewoods Library and Resource Center.

Latino Health Fair, Sept 2006

Latino Health Fair, Sept 2006
September 30th: Latino Health Fair - The Latino Health Fair held on September 30, 2006 was an event hosted by the American Cancer Society, Catholic Charities, and the Clarke County School District. Many medical exams, including blood sugar and cholesterol tests, were provided for no charge and translators were available for everyone. Additionally, many community organizations provided information for families and children.

August 2006

Classes and Services at Pinewoods
Over the past two months of August and September, Pinewoods Library has been very busy serving the community. Our adult ESL classes have been in session, helping people learn English that is practical and utilitarian in day to day life. We offer a basic as well as an intermediate class in order to cater to the different levels of our students. The classes are one hour long and take place Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Once a week, we also offer English classes through the Open Book program, which is a new English computer tutorial that focuses on pronunciation for students having difficulties adjusting to the English language.

In addition to our English classes, we offer computer classes to our patrons twice a week. These are also Tuesday and Thursday evenings, immediately before the English classes in order to make it more convenient for the students who want to attend both. In both the English and the computer classes we have approximately 14 students who come regularly.

Pinewoods Library also offers many services for the children of the community. We have a tutoring program for children between 4th and 12th grades Monday through Thursdays after school. We have several tutors, many from the University of Georgia, who come to give the children the homework help they do not receive at home and at school. We have about twenty children who utilize the tutoring service on a weekly basis. In addition to homework help, we are extremely lucky to have a new, very talented art teacher come on Mondays and Wednesdays to have an art class with the children. The children all enjoy this very much, and it is a much welcomed break from the regular homework schedule.

August 21: Puppet Show! - The puppet show was wonderful! The children's parents, siblings, and friend attended the show and cheered them on. After the show, we went outside to eat food that the parents brought. We also used this time to recognize the adults that participate in our ESL and computer class and the children who participated in the summer reading program. The library was packed; we had over 50 people including staff from the University of Georgia's Cooperative Extension Office/4-H Office, Fausto Sarmiento from El Banco de la Oportunidad (branch of First American Bank), Mrs. Gail Firestone, Mrs. Nancy Lukasiewicz, and Pinewoods Library Friends.

The event was absolutely delightful! Thank you Lyndon House Arts Center staff for all your support and a special thanks to Miss Kim and her helper, Mayra, for all their hard work in putting together the puppet show.

View photographs from the puppet show.

Lyndon House Exhibit, June 27 - July 29 2006

Colors and Forms: Modern Printmaking from Mexico
Drypoint, lithography and intaglio printmaking by 23 artists from Monterrey, Durango, Puebla, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Coahuila and other states in Mexico.
View print by Artist Fernando Meza

Pinewoods Summer Programs 2006

  1. In early April, we began a partnership with the Athens 4-H club which has been very beneficial for many members of the community. Two of the neighborhood teens were chosen as teen- leaders and were presented the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. as 4-H members at no cost to them. Our contact at 4-H is Elizabeth Barber.
  2. Year-long: We had prenatal care classes in coordination with the Athens Regional Hospital held by Nurse Tere Mendez. We have created a schedule for the entire year which includes three classes per month for the year 2006-2007.
  3. Summer-long: Pinewoods took part in a summer-long library vacation reading program where the children and teenagers of Pinewoods put their minds and imaginations to work. More than 40 kids partake in this program. This is a regional program that is done every summer to help spread the reading bug!
  4. Tuesday May 29: The Pinewoods library hosted a magic show by "Mr. Keith and Vern." The theme of the show was 'I love to read.' The magician, Mr. Keith, was fantastic and taught the kids all about the library while entertaining them at the same time. The magician showed the children all kinds of different books that they could find at the library…books about magic, sports, animals, cooking, flowers and everything in between.
  5. Month of June: The Pinewoods staff organized a month-long program to introduce the Pinewoods Community youth to cool careers. The presenters were Athens Regional Medical Center paramedics (Tim Berryman, June 28th), an Athens-Clarke County Fire Department Fire Marshall (Mike Hale, June 21st), and a U.S. Army recruiter (June 14th).
  6. Summer-long: The University of Georgia began conducting a study on Diabetes in early June where an informative kiosk was installed in the library. There are10 main participants in the study who have diabetes and are Latino/a. People in the community are encouraged to know about and use the kiosk. The study is expected to continue for about two more months. At the end of the period there will be discussions about what people thought about the kiosk and how it can be improved. Our contact for this program is Paul Matthews, UGA College of Education.
  7. Summer-long: Every Thursday Miss Kim from the Lyndon House Arts Center comes to do arts and crafts with the children. They have been working on puppets which will later be used to put on a puppet show for the pinewoods staff and neighborhood parents.
  8. Paul Duncan and volunteers from the community, with assistance from the Library, planted a native species garden using typical Mexican flowers. He is working with library staff to develop a grant to extend the garden.
  9. Monday June 5, 2006: A story and music hour that included storytelling and songs was held. The storyteller encouraged participation by assigning the children colorful puppets to hold that corresponded with the characters in the stories. She told stories such as "The Lion and the Mouse," "The Little White Duck" and "The Ten Fairies." Through the stories and songs, the children were taught life lessons like the value of hard work and were also encouraged to practice numbers.
  10. In July, we had the Open Book software installed on the Pinewoods computers. This software is useful for, but not limited to, ESOL learning. Since we have ESL classes here as well as many children whose reading is below their grade-level, this program is expected to have a very positive impact.
  11. Tuesday, July 11th: Jackie Elsner and George Webber, members of the Children's area staff at the main library, came to Pinewoods today to put on a puppet show. The show was titled The Mouse Princess and Sulky Cat. The show was to a recorded tape of a play about a princess that was turned into a mouse and a woman who had been turned into a sulky cat. The puppeteers acted out the play with a number of puppets, including a white horse, rooster, 3-headed dragon, king and queen dogs, a big cat, crab, clam, and the mouse princess.
  12. Thursday, July 13th: We held a short babysitting class for the teen and preteen members of the community. The class included many safety tips, diaper-changing demonstrations, and making a snack.
  13. Thursday, July 27 was the Advisory Council. Miguel presented a powerpoint presentation about some of the Center's activities. We discussed Open Book and 2 members volunteered to underwrite the cost of 5 additional licenses. Future funding for the program was again discussed. Mr. Noe Mendoza made a heart-felt plea to keep the center open and offered to help compile a short film to demonstrate how community members support the Center.
  14. On July 28, Pinewoods coordinator Miguel Vicente and Library System Director Kathryn Ames presented a program to the Atlanta Bibliographic and Information Group about Pinewoods. There were many questions about beginning an outreach program and partnerships within the community. View photograph of program

April 2006

April - Pinewoods library has begun an increased effort to raise the scores of the children in the community for the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, or CRCTs as all children are required to pass these exams before moving on to the next grade level. Tutors work with the children to solve problems and take practice tests online. The tests measure how well students acquire the skills and knowledge described in the quality core curriculum. The tests are given in the areas of reading, English/Language arts, and mathematics.

April 4th - A group of graduate students from the University of Georgia School of Social Work, led by professor Larry Nackerud, came to the library to learn about the facility. The Pinewoods staff spoke with the students about possible projects relating to social work for the community and of the existing project that could be improved upon.

April 4th - The third health seminar was held about the steps to take when you need to go to the doctor. The presentation was a part of a Hispanic Healthcare Pilot Program, a project of the Office of International and Public Service Outreach and of Pinewoods Library. The presenter was Dr. Elvira Martinez.

April 8th - The Pinewoods Staff attended the 3rd annual STARS community development fair. They provided an informational book about the library as well fliers with library information for fair-goers.

April 11th and 13th - On the 11th, the Pinewoods staff visited the Richmond County Library System in Augusta and on the 13th the Sequoyah Regional Library in Canton to give a presentation on Spanish Language Outreach. This was part of the Gates Foundation training that Miguel was selected to attend in January.

January 31st, February 28th, March 28th, and April 15th - From 6:30 to 7:30 Melissa Cahnmann (an assistant professor in the Education Department at UGA) and her student Dorine share their knowledge of poetry with the children of Pinewoods. They encourage the children to read poetry as well as create their own.

April 25th - A party and poetry reading were held to celebrate the last of the semester's poetry classes. Poetry teachers Melissa and Dorine organized the event. Many children and their parents participated by reading their own poetry created during the class. Special thanks to the ACC Library, Friends of the Library, Gail Firestone and Mary Jean Hartel for helping to facilitate this event.

The center received several major gifts of books during this period including books that may be donated to children from International Public Service and Outreach and from a grant written by Barbara Payne that focused on natural sciences including birds, flowers and trees.

March 2006

March 6th - The Center for Latino and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) and the Georgia Center for Continuing Education sponsored their first annual art competition, themed "Latino Pride." Students attending a school in Athens grades 6-12 were eligible to compete. The artwork will be displayed and the winners announced at the Hill Atrium of the Georgia Center with a reception on April 1st 2006.

March 7th - Pinewoods hosted a health seminar about diabetes and high blood pressure at 6:00 pm. The seminar was presented by the Education Center for Diabetes, International Public Service and Outreach from UGA, and the Athens Regional Medical Center. The speakers gave information about diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diabetes as well as explaining the link between diabetes and high blood pressure.

March 30th - Representatives from the University of South Carolina and two South Carolina public libraries visited the Pinewoods Library for a presentation by Kathryn Ames and Miguel Vicente. The group is interested in reaching out the Latino community and observed the library as a model for a facility they would like to duplicate. Daniel Barron, a PhD in Library Sciences and the director of the School of Library and Information Science at USC, led the groups of librarians from SC.

February 2006

February 16th - The first health seminar, planned by the UGA Office of International Public Service and Outreach, focused on oral hygiene, dental health, and prevention of gum disease, was held. The presenter was Dr. Rosanna Masciadri. The presentation included a video, a lecture, an interactive power point presentation, and a question and answer session.

Mondays and Wednesdays - An English class at varying levels is taught by Jody Pope from 11:00 to 12:00 every Monday and Wednesday. The class emphasizes communication and oral participation but also includes some writing and grammar.

February 14th - There was a Valentines Day party held at Pinewoods library which included cookies and drinks. Also, prizes were awarded for the winners of the Club de Lectura San Nicolas, a reading program held in December and January. Many of the students had read over 100 books.

January 2006

January 10th - Miguel Vicente met with Kathryn Ames and Athens-Clarke County Sheriff Ira Edwards to discuss the implementation of the Plaza Communitaria program for the Hispanic prisoners at the Clark County Prison. Plaza communitaria is a self-study program that helps Spanish-speakers complete any level of education from elementary through high school. While the Sheriff agreed that there was a need for continuing education, he was not able to commit to a date for implementation. In the fall, he will revisit the question.

January 16th - Miguel Vicente flew to Seattle, Washington for a program on Spanish outreach presented by Yolanda Cuesta and Laura Stanley representing the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which is underwriting the program. This was a train-the-trainer program and the 5 Georgia trainers will be offering classes to other library staff members about reaching out to new populations, particularly the Latino community. Recommendations were made regarding how to better address the needs of the Spanish-speaking community, including Plaza Communitarias, English and Computer classes, tutoring programs, and translating services. He then visited with the Portland school district to learn how that district is implementing Plaza programs within the school district.

January 25th - Middle and High School students that are being tutored met with the tutors from the University, the Pinewoods administrators, the representatives from CLASE (Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education) and the Garnett Ridge Boys and Girls Club. Feedback from the tutoring program was discussed, the majority of which was positive. Some changes in training the volunteers were discussed and a better system of record-keeping was implemented.

January 26th - There was a meeting of Branch Managers of the Athens Regional Library System and others who had contributions to offer towards different projects for the improvement of the libraries. Miguel reported of the activities that the Pinewoods library was currently involved with, including computer classes, tutoring, Plaza Communitaria, art and sewing classes, ESOL classes, and various celebrations. There were suggestions of ways to use the video Miguel created, as well as suggestions for more funding for the library. Finally, the Family a Familia project was discussed.

August 2005

August 10 at 4:30:00 PM - Teresa Tejeda, Jose Boza, and Paul Matthews report on Pinewoods Activity, Parent/child workshops and even start partnership, family to family and Ideas for Special Events.

August 15 at 7:00:00 PM - Rolando Sanchez presented on Mexico's Independence.

August 16 at 6:00:00 PM - Ricardo Torrey of RE/MAX leads an information session for the Pinewoods community on purchasing a home.

August 26 at 2:00:00 PM - Meeting to discuss and brainstorm ideas to find more tutors for Pinewoods Learning Center.

August 29 at 3:00:00 PM - Information and orientation of the new tutors, Kristi Amatucci, Alex Azuero, Leonardo Cotlar, Davis Huffman, Brian Padilla, Martin Ruiz, Misty Sidhu, for the Pinewoods Library Learning Center.

August 29 at 6:30:00 PM - Poetry night; Melissa Cahnmann shared some of her poems and worked writing poem exercise.

August 31 at 12:30:00 PM - Margarita Tejeda, Erin Thompson, Lynn Johns met to generate ideas of how to increase parent participation in school activities. Sharing resources between schools and the Pinewoods Library was also discussed.

July 2005

July 25 at 7:00:00 PM - Rolando Sanchez, a former lawyer and History teacher in Mexico, shared with the teens the story of Tolteca, a Nayuan city in ancient Mexico. This was to prepare the teens for a Mexican Independence Day festival in September. Total of 19 participants.

July 26 at 6:00:00 PM - Representatives from the Spanish-speaking Branch of the First American Bank & Trust presented information on Spanish-speaking resources for banking and finance, and how to open bank accounts. It was attended by about 24 people of the Pinewood Community.

July 28 at 10:30:00 AM - Laura Shedenhelm from the Biography department donated Spanish books to the Pinewoods Library.

July 28 at 1:30:00 PM - Paul Matthews and Brian Padilla, representatives of CLASE, met with the Pinewoods Staff to organize the tutoring program for the fall.

July 29 at 3:00:00 PM - Dr. G. Ames, Trisha Kalivoda, Jennifer Frum, and Lloyd Rieber discuss the organization of a computer literacy program at the Pinewoods Library.

March 2005

The Pinewoods' Grand Opening is scheduled for Thursday, March 3, from 4:00-6:00 p.m., and invitations are sent to stakeholders throughout the community. To help with the celebration, volunteers from the Pinewoods community provide Mexican dishes, and the Friends of the Library underwrites the cost of additional catered foods. Approximately 100 people attend the event, and numerous dignitaries speak, wishing project partners and participants great success in achieving our goals. The next day, the event is featured on the front page of the Athens-Banner Herald, our local newspaper.

Use of the Learning Center increases dramatically during the month, and approximately 700 people participate in various educational programs. The Center sets up a schedule of adult literacy classes (2 registered participants) as well as primary (20 registered participants) and secondary school classes (3 interested participants) six days via Plaza Comunitaria. The Center also offers a series of computer classes (24 registered participants) to teach keyboarding and Internet skills necessary for understanding and using the online instruction of Plaza Communitaria. One session runs on Monday and Wednesday, the other session Tuesday and Thursday.

After-school tutoring in conjunction with Oasis Catolico brings approximately 35 children and tutors into the Center Monday through Friday. Many students and tutors use the Center's computer lab to practice for the Georgia Department of Education's student assessment tests. To enjoy "free time" use of computers, children are asked to read 45 minutes before using the computers. Project staff estimates that during March, children read or browsed through 1,200 books!

In order to enhance integration of the communities, the Center implements a Spanish class on Wednesday evenings which will run through June. Thus far, five native English speakers are attending the weekly class. English classes offered to native Spanish speakers on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with 16 participants and 6 volunteer teachers. A guitar class is offered every Tuesday evening, and art classes for youth are offered Tuesday afternoons and Saturday mornings, with ten to twelve children attending regularly.

The University of Georgia's Office of International Public Service and Outreach, one of our project partners, continues to provide programs in the health series initiated in February on Sunday afternoons. Attendance ranges from 25-30 participants.

Project staff is extremely pleased with the response from the community. We very much appreciate our program participants, teachers, and volunteers. We knew there was a need for this service, but we are overwhelmed by the response nonetheless. Hiring such capable, caring and energetic project staff has help insured our success.

February 2005

Interviews for the Library Assistant position are held on February 1, and Maria Duarte is offered the position. On Saturday, February 5, Miguel and his wife and Maria go door to door in the Pinewoods community, introducing themselves and handing out flyers about the new Learning Center and its programs. Altogether, they meet about 48 families. That evening, they attend St. Joseph's Catholic Church and speak at the Spanish mass, explaining the Pinewoods program. They reach about 600 people through this approach.

On Sunday afternoon, February 6, Miguel and his wife borrow a loud speaker from Sister Margarita and drive around the park announcing a community meeting to discuss the Pinewoods Learning Center. About 50 people attend, and volunteers come forward to help paint the kitchen cabinetry in the Learning Center, help with landscaping, and identify the best hours-of-operation for the Learning Center. They decide to open the Learning Center Monday-Thursday 3:00 - 8:00 p.m., Friday 3:00 - 5:00 p.m., Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., and Sunday 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

On February 9, library staff brings shelving units to the Learning Center from one of our branch libraries. New books arrive from the headquarters library; the facility is looking great!

On February 11, Miguel and Maria go to Lilburn for a workshop about the Bachillerato for the Plaza Comunitaria. They arrange to pick up textbooks at the Mexican Consulate on the 17th.

Earlier in the month, invitations were sent out to approximately 30 people who are good candidates for the Pinewoods Advisory panel. On the 16th, we have our first organizational meeting at Pinewoods, and about 30 people attend, some of whom were on our invitation list and others who are interested citizens. We review our goals and objectives, receive good feedback, and the panel begins to take shape.

Miguel continues to promote the program throughout the community, going to the local Public Radio station for a live broadcast, visiting Fourth Street Elementary School, Head Start, the Athens Hispanic Concerns Group, and Catholic Social Services.

On February 21, the Center opens to the community! The children in the community are so excited and so eager to use the Center!

A health series is initiated at the Center with the help of Dr. Glenn Ames, Office of International Public Service and Outreach at the University of Georgia. Sunday, February 27 is the first session, and the topic is Latino Health Concerns. About 25 people attend, and their feedback is all positive. Other meetings and topics - diabetes, medical forms, vaccination records, prenatal and infant care - are scheduled for March and April.

On Monday, February 27, art classes for children begin after school. Classes are held twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays afternoons. The art instructor, Kathy Bates, brings valuable experience to the position from years Peace Corps service in Honduras.

January 2005

Grading is finished, a cement sidewalk to three decks is poured, and electricians continue to address ongoing electrical needs, plus outside security lights are installed. Miguel Vicente is hired as Project Manager and starts training on January 10, the same day that two staff members from the library and two staff members from the arts center begin Outcome Based Evaluation training hosted by IMLS in Washington, D.C. On Saturday, January 8, six members of the Friends of the Library work onsite for over four hours, picking up trash, raking, and planting shrubs and flowers to our site more attractive. What would we do without our Friends?

Building inspection infractions - lag bolts on the decks, a tardy fire alarm response - postpone our ability to pass final inspection until the end of the month, which means we still have no power. Madeline Darnell, Art Instructor, recruits a Lyndon House volunteer to work on decking problems. This volunteer adjusts and measures over 40 decking slats so we can meet building codes. Finally on January 26, we pass final inspection and the county faxes approval to the local power company to turn on our power. The next day, our Computer Operations Team begins to install computers, and we schedule another appointment with the phone company to finish the work on our T1 line.

Project staff meets twice this month, and March 3 is scheduled for our Grand Opening. Miguel Vicente begins to promote the program in the community to volunteer groups, the university community, and other organizations working on Hispanic concerns. He also advertises the Library Assistant position included in the grant and gets a number of applicants, although few are bilingual. Four applicants are selected for interviews.

December 2004

Project staff from the Athens-Clarke County Library and the Lyndon House Arts Center continues to meet weekly until the holidays disrupt our pattern. Workmen employed by Satellite Shelters work to tie down the classroom, dismantle old decking from the previous location, and rebuild decks for our lot. Used kitchen cabinetry to be installed in the art room is purchased from Habitat for Humanity, plus a new counter top and sinks from Lowe's. Furniture deliveries begin. Early in the month, project staff interview three applicants for the Project Manager position. A second interview is scheduled for December 15 with our top candidate.

In the meantime, building and fire marshal inspectors go over our building with a fine tooth comb. Three of our four decks require adjustments, especially the handicapped ramp, plus other a sundry issues. More grading work is required, plus we must have a solid path for handicapped access. Phone lines are installed and initial work on a T1 line, and a great deal of interior electrical work has to accommodate computer needs. The other major issue is a fire alarm system that the previous leaser installed. All the wiring for this system had been cut at the base, but since the system was in place, it all had to be in working order. Electricians are kept busy for days!

November 2004

Project staff from the Athens-Clarke County Library and the Lyndon House Arts Center continues to meet weekly. The building permit process churns along, eating up time and adding a few more expenses to the project. George gives us a debriefing on his Plaza Comunitaria training, and the library begins to understand the computer networking requirements of the project. Contract negotiation to host Plaza Comunitaria begins with the Mexican government. Delivery of our classroom is scheduled for the week of November 29, so park management begins the process of clearing and grading our lot well enough to allow the structure to be put in place. Job descriptions for the on-site Project Manager and Part Time Assistant are written and reviewed, and ads are placed in the local newspaper by mid-month. Furniture orders are placed.

On November 27, armed with book recommendations from the Lyndon House Arts Center and library staff, Gail Firestone, Asst. Director of Youth Service, flies to Guadalajara through the ALA-FIL Free Pass program to attend the International Book Fair. Collection development for the Pinewoods Learning Center begins in earnest!

With Planning and Zoning permits in hand, the classroom is delivered to Pinewoods on November 30.

October 2004

During October, project staff meets once a week to work on our IMLS project, discussing portable classroom design, facility hours, furnishings, job descriptions, program development, collection development, art exhibits, and the establishment of an advisory panel. Meeting location alternates between the Athens-Clarke County Library and the Lyndon House Arts Center. As identified in our grant application, Pinewoods Estates North, a large and primarily Hispanic mobile home park, is the target location for our new Learning Center. On October 6, project staff drives into Atlanta to visit Williams-Scotsman, a provider of portable classrooms, to see what is available and at what price. We also visit Satellite Shelters, another portable classroom provider. We learn that due a good deal of recent hurricane damage in the Southeast, demand for portable facilities has increased dramatically, as has cost. Satellite Shelters suggests a year old classroom (64' x 24') currently located at an Atlanta church. Their lease has just expired, and from its description, it sounds like this unit may serve our purposes.

On October 7, project staff visits Pinewoods Estates to select a lot to house our new facility. A lot adjoining Oasis Catolico, one of our project supporters, is our choice as it makes a convenient meeting and activity center for the community.

Mid-October, the library receives a call from the Mexican Consulate informing us of a training opportunity sponsored by the Mexican Department of Education in Michoacan, Mexico for providers of Plaza Comunitaria. The Mexican Department of Education funds the trip except for airfare. George Webber, a bi-lingual library staff member, is asked to attend, and he flies out on October 17 for a week of intensive training.

On October 22, project staff visits Rocksprings Presbyterian Church in Atlanta to see the Satellite Shelter classroom that has become available. It is ideal - three classrooms, a large foyer and two handicapped accessible restrooms. An added bonus is its skirting and decking that can be moved to our Pinewoods location. A contract with Satellite Shelters is signed. Staff initiates the building permit process with the county.

September 2004

On September 21, our Library Director Kathryn Ames receives a call from Senator Zell Miller's office to announce that our application for a 2004 National Library/Museum Leadership Grant was selected for funding. The Institute of Museum and Library Services received 66 applications in this category and funded 19. Our grant is a three year project with IMLS funding totaling $260,030.

We promptly share our good news with all the folks who wrote letters of support for our project: Remedios Gomez Arnau, Consul General of Mexico; David Singleton, Deputy Director Georgia Public Library Service; Butch McDuffie, Director, Athens Transit; Evan Firestone, Professor of Art History, University of Georgia; Sister Margarita Martin, Director, Oasis Catolico Santa Rafaela; Brent Berlin, Director and Professor, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Georgia; Glenn Ames, Director and Professor, Office of International Public Service and Outreach, University of Georgia; Margarita Tejeda, Translator, Clarke County Schools; Terry Salguero, Multicultural Social Service Worker, Northeast Georgia Presbytery; and Rev. Jose Torres, Athens Area Hispanic Ministry Expansion.

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