« Articles

Libraries for the 21st Century: It’s A Family Thing


June 13, 2018

Libraries provide families a welcoming environment in which to learn, to connect with other parents, and to find other community resources that can help them thrive. From birth through young adulthood, family engagement is necessary for children’s literacy, math, and social-emotional development, and libraries are evolving to create more opportunities in which students can develop these skills with the support and encouragement of their families.

Leading Family Engagement in Early Learning: The Role of State Library Administrative Agencies

M. Elena Lopez, Linda Jacobson, Margaret Caspe, Rachel Hanebutt

This policy brief highlights the ways four state library agencies—California, Colorado, Georgia, and Maryland— integrated family engagement in early literacy and learning programs. It provides recommendations and guiding questions to create and improve family-focused pathways to learning, both within state and local libraries and also across other state agencies that serve children and families.

This supplemental guide builds on the work presented in the policy brief to provide library leaders with a selected list of resources that can inform, inspire, and connect their efforts to boost family engagement. 

Ideabook: Libraries for Families

Heather B. Weiss, M. Elena Lopez, Margaret Caspe, Lorette McWilliams

The Ideabook, developed in partnership with the Public Library Association (PLA), offers a research-based framework to guide libraries’ work in family engagement and shares 54 profiles of the innovative ways that libraries – big and small – support families in promoting children’s learning and development. The book also includes recommendations from library leaders on how to adapt and transform practices in local settings.

Living Ideabook

The Living IDEABOOK is a digital publication and actively updated extension of the original IDEABOOK. It features examples from libraries across the country and provides library leaders with a learning hub for discussing and sharing new ideas.

Public Libraries: A Vital Space for Family Engagement

M. Elena Lopez, Margaret Caspe, Lorette McWilliams

This report calls for libraries to join together with schools and community organizations to establish a system of family engagement that extends throughout a child’s life, supports children and families, and prepares children for success.