Four Tulsa City-County Library Locations to Become Family Place Libraries

   Tulsa City-County Library is one of 11 national institutions, and the only Oklahoma recipient, of a 2012 Institute of Museum and Library Services award.  The $16,000 National Leadership Grant will support the Family Place Libraries initiative.

   The Martin Regional, Hardesty Regional, Owasso, and Herman and Kate Kaiser libraries will each feature Family Place Libraries, a library-based early childhood and family support service model.  This multi-phase program, focusing on parents and caregivers as first teachers, is organized around the development needs of the child and will link library services with other local family support groups.  The program emphasizes libraries as key institutions for early childhood development, as well as partners in the promotion of healthy child and family development.

   Library staff will attend the Family Place Institute at the Middle Country Public Library in Centereach, New York for training in 2013.  They will learn to build on the knowledge that good health, early learning, parental involvement and supportive communities play a critical role in young children’s growth and development.

   “Receiving the National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services empowers families with young children to gather at the library,” said Suanne Wymer, TCCL deputy director.  “Creating a stronger learning environment for young children is the primary goal as we partner with other community organizations.  This allows libraries to strengthen our progressive children’s services through active community building.”

   Family Place Libraries redesign the library environment to be welcoming and appropriate for children beginning at birth; connect parents with the resources, programs and services offered at the library and other family service agencies; and reach out to non-traditional library users.  This creates the network families need to nurture their child’s development during the critical first years of life and helps ensure children enter school ready and able to learn.

   Core components for a Family Place Library are:

  • The Parent/Child Workshop – A five-week program that involves toddlers and their parents and caregivers featuring local professionals who serve as resources for parents, emphasizing the role of parents as the first teachers of their children, facilitates early intervention, and teaches strategies for healthy child development and early literacy.
  • Collections of books, toys, music and multimedia materials for babies, toddlers, parents and service providers.
  • A specially designed, welcoming space within the children’s area for families with young children.
  • Coalition building with community agencies serving families and young children to connect parents with community resources and develop program and services tailored to meet local needs.
  • Outreach to new and non-traditional library users, especially parents with young children.
  • Developmentally appropriate programming for young children and their parents.
  • Library staff trained in family support, child development and parent education.

   TCCL will build on the National Leadership Grant with $4,000 of additional funding from the Tulsa Library Trust and the George Kaiser Family Foundation.  By combining local resources, the libraries will enhance the local impact of supporting early childhood literacy.

   For more information on TCCL services and programs, call the AskUs Hotline, 918-549-7323, or visit the library’s website, www.tulsalibrary.org.

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