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


March 20, 2017

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.

With generous funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Global Family Research Project team partnered with the Public Library Association (PLA) to explore family engagement in children’s learning through libraries. The reports below summarize some of the initiative’s findings.

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.

Ideabook: Libraries for Families

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

The Ideabook picks up where the call to action leaves off. It 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.