Two Santa Monica librarians have been selected to participated with 30 of their colleagues from other libraries in the 2011 Eureka! Leadership Program, a professional development initiative sponsored by the California State Library in partnership with InfoPeople.
Librarians Shana Johnson and Erica Cuyugan recently completed a six-day leadership program, received $5,000 grants and committed to year-long projects in collaboration with local organizations that expanded library services to at-risk Santa Monica youth.
Johnson partnered with Upward Bound House’s Family Place, a transitional housing shelter in Santa Monica whose goal is to eliminate homelessness among families with children.  Over the course of several months, she led a series of literacy-based story and craft programs for youth and helped students gain access to online homework help resources provided by the library.
With support from the Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library, Johnson also brought Santa Monica Public Library’s summer reading program to Family Place for the first time, where children and teens redeemed their hours spent reading over the summer for prizes
Cuyugan partnered with local continuation school Olympic High School to conduct a weekly class that concentrated on developing key assets in at-risk youth through oral history and interview training. Students filmed and produced their own cable show, “Voices of Santa Monica” at CityTV’s new Studio 16.
To prepare for the show, students received technical training from City TV staff on how to function as a camera crew.
The class filmed a total of six shows and interviewed an author/historian, a formerly homeless woman, a cross-dresser, a dancer, a detective, and the deputy chief of police in a real studio setting.
Cuyugan also received support from the Friends of the Library to employ three interns over the summer.