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.
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.
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.
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.