“Why does the library have toys? I thought libraries just had books and computers.”
That’s a great question!
In 2019, the library won a wonderful grant that allowed us to create an early education area (play space) within the library and also sent Ms. Kimberly and Ms. Taylor to New York for special training on Family Place Libraries. Family Place is an initiative that helps public libraries address early learning with a goal of ensuring that all children enter school ready and able to learn. The Family Place website states that Family Place builds on the knowledge that good health, early learning, parental involvement and supportive communities play a critical role in a young child’s growth and development. The overall goal of Family Place Libraries is to develop a family friendly environment by transforming libraries into community centers for literacy, early childhood development, parent education and engagement, family support and community information. Family Place Libraries™ programs are offered in more than 500 libraries across the United States and we are lucky to be one of those.
Our Family Place program is called “Bright from the Start” and occurs twice a year (fall and spring). Our program is an hour long and meets once a week for five weeks. During our program, we transform our large meeting room into a child friendly play area and encourage caregivers to follow their child’s lead (even as chaotic as that can sometimes be). We also bring in community specialists for each topic, some of our past specialists have been physical therapists from Lubbock ISD’s Early Childhood Intervention (ECI), speech pathologists from ECI, and educators from the Parenting Cottage. This program is completely free to our families, and is a wonderful opportunity for caregivers to connect with each other and find great community resources they may not know exists.
Here’s a video on Family Place Libraries: