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.
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The Family Place Libraries initiative began in 1996 when Libraries for the Future (LFF), was searching the nation for a model parent program in a public library. A visit to Middle Country Public Library (MCPL) and the Parent/ Child Workshop sparked this collaborative project. “We knew enough to say this is different,” says Diantha Schull, LFF ’s former president. “It really met a community-collaborative need.”
Working together, LFF and MCPL refined the workshop’s principles and developed a framework for a replicable model to show all libraries a new way to look at children’s services. The newly dubbed Family Place library kept the Parent-Child Workshop as its cornerstone, but built a structure around it comprised of key core elements to expand the role of public libraries as community centers and key players in family and early childhood development, parent and community involvement and lifelong learning beginning at birth. With a grant from the Hasbro Children’s Foundation in 1998, the initiative was launched at libraries in five communities: Harford (CT), Baltimore (MD), Lyndonville (VT), Providence (RI) and Centereach (NY)
The first Family Place Training Institute, based upon a new interdisciplinary training curriculum, was offered in 1999. Since then 435 librarians from 25 states have attended the Training Institute and joined the national network of Family Place Libraries.
Feinberg, Sandra and Diantha D. Schull. Transforming Public Libraries To Serve Very Young Children and Their Families. Zero to Three, 2000-2001.
Sonenberg, Nina. Family Place Libraries: From One Long Island Library to the Nation. Americans for Libraries Council, 2005.