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2015 Public Survey

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The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger


When Alec Wilkinson approached Pete Seeger about writing his story Seeger asked him to write something that could be read in one sitting. This book fits the bill. Wilkinson covers the influence of Seeger’s parents who were classically trained musicians, his brief time at Harvard University, days and nights with the Almanac Singers where he was introduced to Woody Guthrie, his performances with the Weavers and his affiliation with the Communist Party. There are stories of his early train hopping days where he broke the neck off his ever present banjo and his love of living in the woods with his wife and small children. Seeger was a down to earth activist who was passionate about the Bill of Rights. He truly loved America. He remained strong while giving testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee on August 18, 1955 and ultimately disavowed his support of Communism.  In later years, Seeger became an environmentalist after being inspired by a reading of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Readers will gain an understanding of who Pete Seeger was and how he became a folk hero in America.

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Reach Out and Read

What does the Fox Cities medical community and public library have in common? Prior to this year, the answer was “not much”. That will be changing as a result of an innovative grant funded by the United Way Fox Cities to begin the implementation of Reach Out and Read.

Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based non-profit organization of medical providers who promote pre-literacy and school readiness in the examining rooms of family practitioners and pediatricians nationwide by giving new books to children and advising parents about the importance of reading aloud. Physicians who participate in the program promote the development of pre-literacy skills at ten well-child visits between the ages of six months to five years, making literacy promotion a standard of pediatric care. Physicians use books as tools within developmental screening to determine if children are being read to and are developing properly.

Locally, it is Dr. Sarah Campbell, physician at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, who was the first to pilot Reach Out and Read in Appleton. In a letter of support for expansion of the program throughout the Fox Cities she wrote, “It is my hope, and was when we started this program a year ago, that this will become the standard of care for children in the Fox Cities."

The Friends of Appleton Public Library will act as the fiscal agent for this grant. The library’s primary function is to select and distribute books to medical sites in the Fox Cities who choose to participate in Reach Out and Read. The position of Regional Coordinator for Reach Out and Read is funded by the United Way Fox Cities, but is working out of the Appleton Public Library. The primary function of this position is to promote the spread of Reach Out and Read throughout the Fox Cities.

“Implementation of Reach Out and Read in the Fox Cities will help ensure that all local children enter kindergarten developmentally on track in the area of pre-literacy skills,” said Tanya Misselt, Appleton Public Library Children’s Services Supervisor. “This grant has created an opportunity for us to bring change to early literacy in the Fox Cities.”