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Service Proposal: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Crystal Grimes LI 833 Service Proposal Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Service Proposal: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Abstract This paper will describe the population of Grandparents raising Grandchildren. Along with information of how this population has grown in the United States, there are also steps as to how to better serve this population in the library. This paper will focus on the Dallas Public Library and what resources that it has access to.

Service Proposal: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Dallas, Oregon is a medium sized town of a little over 20,000 people. The public library is tasked with serving this town and helping them with their information needs. The population is mostly made up of white males and females between the ages of 18 and 65. The library itself is a medium sized library that is housed in a building of 8,440 square feet. It is well lit and has large windows that allow natural light to be used during the daytime hours. The library is currently open for 41 hours a week to serve the public. A real strength of the Dallas Public Library is their focus on kids and their childrens section. They currently have story time two times a week, Tuesdays for toddlers and Thursdays for preschoolers. They also have activities for the school holidays so that kids have somewhere to go during the times when school is not in session. There is also a strong summer reading program for both children and young adults that is heavily promoted and participated in by the community. A very popular program with children is called read to the dog. A volunteer brings in a dog that has been trained for special needs, and children are allowed to read and practice their reading skills with the dog. For the adults there is a monthly book club that discusses a popular fiction book. There are also programs that run every month or so that feature local authors and professors from the nearby college. These are very popular with the senior citizens that frequent the library from the senior center that is located in the back of the library building. These seniors are part of the 18 percent of the 65 and older population that makes up Dallas, Oregon. One more group that Dallas serves is the young adult or teenage population. In the last few years this has gone from a single bookshelf near the non-fiction section, into three full bookcases full of books aimed at young adults. This year the library gave the young

Service Proposal: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren adults their own non-fiction section filled with books specifically aimed at that age group and issues that they are struggling with. During an interview I had with the interim library director she mentioned that there is a population that she wants to reach but that the library is severely lacking materials for. This particular population has not been discussed until recently and even now it is still hardly mentioned or brought up in conversation. The population of Grandparents raising Grandchildren is one that seems to get swept aside in favor of other more prolific populations.

Population According to the US Census of 2000 2.4 million grandparents in the US were caregivers to their grandchildren. In the last twelve years this number has risen to over 4 million. In Oregon alone over 24,000 children live in households where the guardian is the grandparent and over 10,000 children have no parent present. Looking at the grandparents, in Oregon 24,623 grandparents are householders who are responsible for grandchildren living with them. 79% of these grandparents are white and 66% are under the age of 60. If this wasnt enough 44% of these grandparents do not have the parents of the grandchildren in their home and 16% of these households live in poverty. This is clearly something that is not a small issue and it is not one that is decreasing as time goes by. If you follow the data it is only increasing as the years go by. When looking at the Dallas Library one thing that is noticeable is how there is pretty much nothing offered for this population. If it is this large in Oregon, and if the majority of Dallas are white families in between the ages of 18 and 65 then wouldnt there be some

Service Proposal: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren overlap? According to the interim librarian, yes, there is a large overlap and it is one that has been overlooked for too long. She mentioned to me that in Salem, located twenty minutes from Dallas, there are at least five hundred families that fit into the grandparents raising grandchildren population. The hardest thing for these families is that there is a lack of educational resources for how these grandparents adjust to being parents the second time around. Where do they go for classes? Do they need classes? If they need to take the child to the doctor what do they need to do? How do they get custody? Can they get custody? All of these questions are things that these grandparents struggle to answer on their own. Another problem for this group is that grandparents who stay at home and take care of the children can feel isolated and alone. They may feel like they are the only ones in the world who are in this situation. Looking at the statistics it is easy to see that is not the case, but where do these grandparents meet others who are like them? Again another question that they need to answer on their own. There is a unique aspect to this population, in that there is not one, but two parties that are in this group. Focus cannot be just on the grandparents, but also on the grandchildren that are involved. A child in this situation has usually been separated from their parents and placed with grandparents who are supposed to be the ones who bake cookies or offer a vacation of sorts from the parents. This role has to be changed to form this hybrid of grandparent who does let the child have fun, yet be a parent and enforce rules and teach values to the child. Depending on how young the child was when he was taken into the grandparents home there could be issues with clinginess due to the child feeling like he has been

Service Proposal: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren abandoned. If the child is older he or she may exhibit anger, stubbornness, or defiance at these new authority figures in their life. Where does a child go to learn that they are not the only one who is in this situation? Where can a young child see and interact with other children in their circumstances? Is there something that the library can do to help the grandparents and their grandchildren see that they are not alone and that there are others out there like them. Taking a quick look at not only the Dallas library holdings, but even the libraries that they are in a co-op with, shows that there are hardly any materials in the collection that pertain to this population. If a person where to type in Grandparents raising Grandchildren the person would get a few results, all of which are older or havent been updated in a very long time, some over ten years. The other thing to be noticed is that while there are plenty of books about grandchildren with grandparents, there is really nothing that pertains to the grandparent being the parent of the grandchild. This only further cements the idea to the child that they are the only ones alone in this situation. Surely if there were other kids like them then there would be some kind of book about it right?

Services Since Dallas already has a very strong childrens department it makes sense to invest in some resources that are aimed specifically at these children. A suggestion would be to invest in books for children aged from preschool to middle school. Along with expanding the collection aimed at children, it is also important to expand the libraries holdings of materials aimed the adult members of this group. A search shows that the library has a very small amount of information and more is needed if this group is going to

Service Proposal: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren be reached. A few books have come out in the last few years that have good reviews and would be a good addition to the library. Currently the highest rated one came out in 2011 and is pretty inexpensively priced for less than twenty dollars. This would be an update from the most current book in this collection which was published in 1995. To update and expand the holdings of both age groups should be relatively inexpensive. If the library could spend $100 on the adult holdings that could bring the collection from a mere four titles returned to almost ten titles that patrons could have access to. There is also the option to apply for a grant to get money specifically for this population. Besides updating and expanding the holdings that are for this population, the next thing that should be done would be to begin having groups for the grandparents. This is a great way for them to see that they are not alone and for them to form some connections to others like them in the same city. There are libraries that are doing this and are having great results. It is a way for librarians to meet and interact with this group, and it is a way to introduce this group to the library and get them familiar with what is offered and how we as a library can help them with their information needs. During these meetings the library can also bring in members from local non-profit organizations that are designed to help grandparents who are in this type of situation. In Dallas there is a non-profit group already set up called A Gift of Time and they offer classes, retreats, and help for those who are designated caretakers. A representative could come to these meetings and talk about options that are available for grandparents in this situation and help them to explore all possible routes. These meetings should also be relatively inexpensive to put on. According to some tips from the article Groups for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren it is stated to just

Service Proposal: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren have some coffee and light snacks. Mostly these meetings should just be a place for grandparents to come and meet to discuss relevant topics. If new materials are purchased within the next two months, then during that time talks can begin with A Gift of Time to see if someone would be willing to come out and talk with these grandparents. A schedule would have to be set up and someone from the library would need to oversee the meetings and be there to participate. This staff member can also be a liaison between the library and the grandparents and can help them find information and can then suggest new things to the library to purchase if new items are suggested. A possible site for marketing these meetings could be the senior center, which is conveniently located at the back of the library. Also some fliers and pamphlets could be set up at DHS and local health facilities.

Evaluation Before any groups start meeting or materials are purchased, a small community analysis should be performed on the population that is being underserved. In doing this first, the library will have a base which can then be referred to later after the programs have started. Circulation statistics of the current holdings before and after the new materials are purchased will tell the library if the new materials are helping to circulate the collection. After six months of meetings the library should do another small community analysis to determine whether or not the patrons are making use of the new library resources. Along with the analysis a survey can be distributed to the grandparents asking if the program has been satisfactory and if any changes need to be made. After these initial evaluations take place then the program can be adjusted as needed.

Service Proposal: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Summary The population of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren is growing at a steady rate in the United States. In Dallas the situation is no different and if this population is ignored then the library will lose a chance to reach out to these people who need help finding the information that they need. Teaming up with a local non-profit organization can increase the impact that can be had on this population and can make the lives of these people a little easier. A little bit of effort can go a long way into finally fulfilling the informational needs that these grandparents who raise their grandchildren so desperately need.

Service Proposal: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren References AARP Foundation. (2011). Grandfacts Oregon. Retrived from http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/relationships/friends-family/grandfacts/grandfactsoregon.pdf City of Dallas. (2012). Dallas Public Library. Retrived from http://ordallas.civicplus.com/index.aspx?NID=102 De Toledo, S., & Brown, D. E. (1995). Grandparents as parents: A survival guide for raising a second family. New York, NY: The Guilford Press Onboard Informatics. (2011). 97338 Zip Code Detailed Profile. Retrieved from http://www.city-data.com/zips/97338.html Simmons, T., & Dye, J. L. (2000). Grandparents living with grandchildren: 2000. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/c2kbr-31.pdf U.S. Census Bureau. (2012). Dallas, Oregon. Retrieved from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/41/4117700.html USA.gov. (2011) Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. Retrieved from http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Grandparents.shtml Watkins, J. (2006). Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: The Growing Task Facing a New Generation. Children & Libraries, 4(1), 12-14. Retrieved from Library Lit & Inf Full Text database. Waycie, L. (2006). Groups for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. Children & Libraries, 4(1), 17-18. Retrieved from Library Lit & Inf Full Text database Wright, K. (2011). Raising your Grandchildren. Retrieved from http://www.raisingyourgrandchildren.com/