Family Place Libraries™
A Family Place Library is a center for early childhood information, parent education, emergent literacy, socialization and family support. Expanding the traditional role of children’s services, Family Place offers a new opportunity for libraries to play a vital role in the life and health of their communities.
Family Place builds on the knowledge that good health, early learning, parental involvement and supportive communities play a critical role in young children’s growth and development.
A Family Place Library features the following core elements:
- A multi-media resource collection for parents, caregivers, and early childhood professionals.
- An early childhood collection of books, audio-visual materials and toys.
- A welcoming space on the public floor for families with young children.
- Collaborative work with community agencies that serve families and young children to develop programs and services tailored to meet local needs.
- Outreach to new and non-traditional library users, especially parents and very young children.
- Library staff trained in family support, child development, parent education and best practices.
- The Parent/Child Workshop– a five week program that involves toddlers and their parents and caregivers; features local experts; emphasizes the role of parents as the first teachers of their children; facilitates early intervention; and teaches strategies for healthy child development.
Family Place Libraries™ programs are offered in more than 200 libraries across the United States, 6 of which are in Maine. It is a national initiative developed by Libraries for the Future and the Middle Country Public Library.
Libraries for the Future (LFF) is the program division of the Americans for Libraries Council, a national organization that champions the role of libraries in the 21st century. LFF currently operates in more than 200 communities in 25 states. Family Place Libraries, a signature Program of LFF, transforms libraries into centers for healthy child development and family literacy.
Middle Country Public Library (MCPL) has provided library-based family support services since 1979. A leader in building library/community coalitions and networks, the library has developed a broad array of model services aimed at children, families, and the adults who work with families, including the Parent/Child Workshop. MCPL is recognized as the national model for Family Place Libraries.