What Makes a Family Place Library?

Expanding the traditional role of children's services, Family Place builds on the knowledge that good health, early learning, parental involvement and supportive communities play a critical role in young children's growth and development.

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 children's development during the critical first years of life and helps ensure all children enter school ready and able to learn.

The Core Components of a Family Place Library

Family Place Libraries

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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

Parent/Child Workshop is a five week program that involves toddlers and their parents and caregivers; features local professionals who serve as resources for parents; emphasizes the role of parents as the first teachers of their children; facilitates early intervention; and teaches strategies for healthy child development and early literacy

Coalition-building with community agencies that serve families and young children to connect parents to community resources and develop programs and services tailored to meet local needs

Outreach to new and non-traditional library users, especially parents and very young children (beginning at birth)

Developmentally appropriate programming for very young children and their parents

Library staff trained in family support, child development, parent education and best practices


Since becoming a Family Place Library, our library looks different, sounds different and feels different. The Family Place concept has opened up our minds to all that a library can be for its community. The training has provided us with a springboard, propelling us into creating new programs and partnerships, and acquiring new resources for our community.

— Family Place Coordinator, Shippensburg Public Library, Shippensburg, PA