Anoka-Hennepin parent involvement program revamps resource center

Anoka-Hennepin’s parent involvement program gave its parent resource center a makeover this fall.

Shannon Schmidt turns in a survey to Beth Kuehn, a parent involvement specialist in the district, during the grand opening for the updated Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 resource center. “It’s just a way to get people a little closer to the books,” said Kuehn, who created several surveys for the week-long event. The resource center has nearly 2,000 books, CDs and DVDs for parents and students to check out at the Education Service Center, 2727 Ferry Street, Anoka. Photo by Olivia Koester

Shannon Schmidt turns in a survey to Beth Kuehn, a parent involvement specialist in the district, during the grand opening for the updated Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 resource center. “It’s just a way to get people a little closer to the books,” said Kuehn, who created several surveys for the week-long event. The resource center has nearly 2,000 books, CDs and DVDs for parents and students to check out at the Education Service Center, 2727 Ferry Street, Anoka. Photo by Olivia Koester

The center’s collection of more than 2,000 books, CDs and DVDs are now cataloged online so that parents can reserve resources from the comfort of their own home.

Additionally, newly constructed bookshelves replace rolling carts, giving a permanent home to the resources in the Education Service Center’s main entrance at 2727 Ferry St., Anoka.

Before, “it was kind of hidden away, and people didn’t know about it,” said Heather Peters, communications coordinator for Anoka-Hennepin Community Education.

Parent Nicole Nelson was one of those people. During the grand opening, she checked out the resource center for the first time, borrowing Brain Quest flash cards for her five-year-old daughter to use.

Nelson will be back. “I think it will give more [educational] opportunities,” she said.

Anoka-Hennepin first opened a resource center for parents in 1996.

Beth Kuehn, a parent involvement specialist in the district, spoke of the center’s “need to move into the new tech-age” as motivation for updates, particularly the creation of an online catalog.

Available at opac.libraryworld.com, the library name is AHPRC, and no password is required.

The catalog allows parents to see which books are available and to reserve books online.

When requests come in, the parent involvement program can mail resources to a specific school to make it easier for parents to pick them up. “Geographically, it’s such a huge district,” Kuehn said,

It is a hike for some parents to get the Education Service Center, she said.

If parents are in the neighborhood, they can check out resources any time the building is open using a self-service kiosk; a drop-off slot accompanies the library log.

The parent involvement program office is right across from the center, so if parents have questions, staff is readily available to answer them.

There are many resources for early childhood and early school-age children, but the center has materials for parents of kids of all ages. For example, there are books about sending children off to college, letting go, job hunting and more, Kuehn said.

The center continually updates its collection, putting newer versions of books on shelves, retiring books and adding new titles.

Many stopped by during the week-long grand opening.

Kuehn prepared a different scavenger hunt each day to get families acquainted with the resources. Those who took the time to complete the hunt won brownies and coffee.

The parent involvement program gave away approximately 500 CDs and DVDs throughout the week, too.

Shannon Schmidt, a parent in the district, stopped by Nov. 21. She has used materials in the resource center for years.

“I think this will be nice,” Schmidt said eyeing the bookcases.

Olivia Koester is at olivia.koester@ecm-inc.com

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