Family Place Libraries™

An Effective Practice


Family Place Libraries™ is a national model for family-centered service. This program assists libraries throughout the United States in redesigning their environment to be welcoming and appropriate for very young children and their families. The goal of this program is to establish libraries as important resources for positive development of children and families while building connections among community members.

Each Family Place Library offers: (1) a five-week parent/child workshop featuring local professionals, (2) a specially designed space within the library for families, (3) age-appropriate programming, (4) a collections of books, toys, and other developmentally appropriate materials, and (5) outreach to the underserved populations and non-traditional library users.

Family Place Libraries™ is the program arm of Americans for Libraries Council. It is a joint initiative of Middle County Public Library and Libraries for the Future. Multiple foundations and private donors fund this program.

Goal / Mission

The mission of Family Place Libraries™ is to increase the capacity of libraries throughout the nation to recognize and realize their full potential as community hubs for healthy child and family development, parent and community involvement and lifelong learning beginning at birth.

Results / Accomplishments

As of 2006, Family Place Libraries™ has been replicated in over 200 libraries in 23 states with major clusters in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Long Island, NY. A 2005 impact evaluation revealed that library use increased among participants in parent/child workshops: a change in rate of 100% for twice-a-month visits and 195.4% for once-a-month visits. In addition, 100% of the libraries expanded their collections for young children and their families. Ninety-seven percent of libraries partnered with family-centered community agencies, and over 82% offered parent/child workshops two or more times per year. Surveys and internal reports revealed that parents/caregivers (including non and low English speaking families) felt less isolated, had greater sense of community, were better informed about child development and early literacy issues, and communicated more with one another. In addition, parents/caregivers reported spending more time reading and interacting with their children both in and out of the library.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Kathleen Deerr
Middle Country Public Library

101 Eastwood Boulevard

Centereach, NY 11720
(631) 585-9393 x 204
Education / Literacy
Education / Childcare & Early Childhood Education
Social Environment / Neighborhood/Community Attachment
Americans for Libraries Council
Date of publication
For more details
Target Audience
Children, Teens

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