Reading Action Team Profile — Emily Lloyd
December 16, 2020
Emily Lloyd was an early reader, one of those kids who always had her head in a book. When she grew up and became a librarian, she thought she could get every child to love reading like she did. But when she became a parent herself — to two active daughters who preferred sports to books — she realized this was unrealistic.
“I have a lot of parents come in and say, ‘I want my child to love reading, and for a long time in my career I thought that was the goal,” said Lloyd, the children’s librarian at the Northfield Public Library. “I’ve learned through my kids that you might not be able to create a kid who loves reading, but you can create a kid who is not intimidated by reading.”
Getting children to feel confident about reading is part of her job as a children’s librarian. It’s also part of her work as a member of the Northfield Promise Reading Action Team, which she joined soon after starting her job at the Northfield library three years ago.
Lloyd is the organizational representative from the Northfield Public Library; the team’s 23 other members represent local schools and organizations that are working together to support literacy efforts in the community. The Reading Action Team aims to have all Northfield students reading proficiently by the end of third grade.
Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) Coordinator Laura Turek, who provides support to the Reading Action Team, said Lloyd brings many talents to the collaboration.
“She is a true advocate for children and serves them first,” Turek said. “Her partnering instincts are great, and she has been open to aligning efforts with so many community partners through the schools, the YMCA, and the Northfield Arts Guild, among others.”
Lloyd said everyone on the team is passionate about the goal, and she’s enjoyed getting to know people from different walks of life through the work. Initiatives it has launched since she joined include the Books on the Bus program, a partnership between the Northfield Public Library and Benjamin Bus in which books from the old bookmobile were placed on buses for children to read; and the creation of the library’s Book Bike program, in which trained volunteers visit low-income neighborhoods in the summer to distribute free books and community information.
Since the implementation of those and other programs – like Reading Corps, MOVE 5, and a district-wide reading curriculum – the percentage of all Northfield students who are proficient readers by the end of third grade has increased; between 2017 and 2019 it went up 11 percentage points. Although scores for Latinx/Hispanic students and students experiencing poverty are consistently lower than the overall scores, those, too, have improved between 2017 and 2019, by 16 percentage points for Latinx/Hispanic third-graders and by 9 percentage points for third-graders from low-income households.
Although the numbers tell one part of the story, Lloyd says it’s the comments she hears from parents and caregivers that have reinforced for her the feeling that the team is on the right track — like the woman who told Lloyd she’d lived in many different places and felt Northfield truly was a place where people care about children from cradle to career.
“I want families to know how much Northfield is invested in this, if they don’t know already, and to feel the connection between these organizations,” Lloyd said. “It’s an important team.”