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August 9, 2016
Public Libraries: A Vital Space for Family Engagement
M. Elena Lopez, Margaret Caspe, Lorette McWilliams
FINE Newsletter, Volume VIII, Issue 3
Issue Topic: Family Engagement in Children’s Learning Through Libraries
HFRP Research and Resources
Children and youth learn in countless ways, anywhere, anytime. And one of the most powerful levers of children’s learning—from the early childhood years through adolescence—is families. For families, libraries provide the books, media, and activities that help them open doors for children’s literacy and lifelong learning.
Libraries are poised to engage families more meaningfully across children’s development. They embrace the entire family—from infants and toddlers to teens to grandparents—making libraries a space where children and adults can learn together and strengthen their relationships. The rich digital and hands-on resources libraries offer, especially when guided by librarians, can help families steer, guide, and support learning. And with the disparities between how children and youth from high- and low-income homes spend their out-of-school time growing, libraries – free, trusted, safe, and welcoming places in virtually every community – can help counterbalance these inequalities.
In this Call to Action (PDF), Harvard Family Research Project and the Public Library Association explore what family engagement is, the research behind why families matter for children’s learning, and why libraries matter for family engagement. The paper concludes with ways that libraries around the country are encouraging family engagement by:
This Call to Action is based on conversations with librarians and directors across the country, the results of a national survey, and a review of the current research. Taken together, this document shows that there is no better time than the present for libraries to join together with schools, community organizations, and service providers to establish a system of family engagement that extends throughout a child’s life, supports children and families, and optimally prepares children for success in school and life.
|Download PDF||Learn more about HFRP's work in public libraries: www.hfrp.org/libraries|
This resource is part of the August 2016 FINE Newsletter. The FINE Newsletter shares the newest and best family engagement research and resources from Harvard Family Research Project and other field leaders. To access the archives of past issues, please visit www.hfrp.org/FINENewsletter. To subscribe to the FINE Newsletter, please visit our subscription center.