Nicholas Higgins | Movers & Shakers 2017 – Advocates

For most parents, reading a story aloud to their children is a bond-building experience they wouldn’t trade for anything. Not everyone, though, has that opportunity. “For parents who are incarcerated, and for their children in particular, that loss of connection can take a devastating toll that could last a lifetime,” says Nick Higgins, who spearheaded TeleStory, a program at the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) to help alter this particular unhappy ending.
Nicholas Higgins

CURRENT POSITION

Director of Outreach Services, Brooklyn Public Library

DEGREE

MLS, Pratt Institute, 2009

FOLLOW

@BKLYNlibrary (Twitter); Bklyn Public Library; Nicholas on LinkedIn

Photo by Gregg Richards

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Story Time for Everyone

For most parents, reading a story aloud to their children is a bond-building experience they wouldn’t trade for anything. Not everyone, though, has that opportunity. “For parents who are incarcerated, and for their children in particular, that loss of connection can take a devastating toll that could last a lifetime,” says Nick Higgins, who spearheaded TeleStory, a program at the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) to help alter this particular unhappy ending.

TeleStory provides live video links between libraries in Brooklyn and parents in prison, allowing parents to talk to, tell stories to, and even sing along with their children. “TeleStory is a very simple way to increase opportunities for family and community connections,” Higgins says of the program, which began as a small pilot. Now, thanks to a nearly $400,000 Knight Foundation grant Higgins won in 2016, TeleStory is up and running in a dozen BPL branches.

Though story time is an important part of the program, it’s not where TeleStory ends. It has also become an opportunity to reach out to families with incarcerated parents and introduce them to other library services, as well as resources provided by other agencies.

On the heels of this success in Brooklyn, Higgins and his colleagues are taking TeleStory on the road. After expanding to the nearby New York Public and Queens libraries, Higgins recently headed upstate to help the Albany Public Library install a video unit and begin its own similar project. Higgins is hopeful that New York’s capital will be just the first stop on TeleStory’s tour. His ultimate goal is to build the service into a model that can spread to libraries nationwide.

“If public libraries are going to remain relevant, we need to be persistent and unafraid to deliver services that address specific needs of our most vulnerable neighbors,” Higgins says.

Comments

Stephanie Thomas

Congratulations, Nick! Wonderful! *Applause*

Posted : Mar 26, 2017 05:06


TIERRA B.

NOTHING SHORT OF UNEXPECTED !!!!!!!!!! NICK

Posted : Mar 23, 2017 09:50


Lynn Galfano

Congratulations you are a credit to BPL, the state of New York and Pratt. Best wishes, Lynn

Posted : Mar 22, 2017 07:42


Kay Badalamenti

Congratulations Nick! Thank you for this innovative program which will keep many parents and their children spiritually and emotionally united during long periods of separation caused by incarceration.

Posted : Mar 22, 2017 02:26


Kay Badalamenti

Congratulations Nick !! Thank You for this innovative program which will keep many parents and their children spiritually united during the painful family separation caused by incarceration.

Posted : Mar 22, 2017 02:21


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