Ever wonder what libraries around the country are doing to engage families? Interested to know what libraries consider their greatest family engagement needs? We've got some preliminary answers for you.
As part of the Libraries for the 21st Century Project: It's a Family Thing, we, the Public Library Association and Harvard Family Research Project, conducted a national survey of existing family engagement practices in libraries. We define family engagement as a shared responsibility among families, schools, and communities to support children’s learning and development. Research shows that family engagement is important for children’s outcomes from birth through young adulthood and it happens everywhere children learn – including the library. For families, family engagement is about knowledge, attitudes, values, and behaviors that enable children to be motivated, enthusiastic, and successful learners. For libraries, family engagement entails respectful partnerships that offer the information, guidance, and opportunities for families to be active in children’s learning and development.
The survey asked library staff to think deeply on a number of facets of family engagement including:
• library management’s effort to cultivate a culture of family engagement
• services provided for families of young, school age, and adolescent children
• library support for the well-being of entire families
• work with low-income, English language learner, and culturally diverse families
• the use of digital tools and digital resources for family learning
• librarians roles in supporting families
• collaboration with community partners
Nearly 500 library directors from urban, suburban, and rural communities completed the survey. Our preliminary findings reveal that libraries value and believe that family engagement is important to its work. While libraries are exceling at engaging families in the early years around literacy, and partnering strongly with early childhood programs, and schools, there is still a need for support in this area, as well as how to use technology and digital media for children’s learning and development. At this discussion, come here about our expansive survey findings and join us in a conversation about the implications of our results!
Interests: Assessment and Evaluation, Children's Services, Community Engagement, Leadership, Literacy, Organizational Change, Partnerships, Professional Development, Youth Services
Type of Library: Public
Cost: Included with full conference registration.