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Nicholas P. Sims Library
A Family Place Library

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 design 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


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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 Workshops 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

Family Place Libraries In Action

Family Place: Overview of Family Place Libraries

Family Place Library Parent/Child Workshop

Hosted by Kalamazoo Public Library

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