For immediate release | June 6, 2016

Engaging babies in the public library

CHICAGO — Public libraries across the nation continue to transform themselves into learning centers for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. There are many resources available to help librarians create baby-friendly play spaces and enhanced storytimes, but until now there has been gap in the literature addressing the developmental needs and changing behaviors of babies and toddlers. Parents and caregivers can also present unique service challenges. Debra J. Knoll’s new book “Engaging Babies in the Library: Putting Theory into Practice,” published by ALA Editions, provides sensible, sensitive advice on how libraries can meet the physical, emotional, intellectual, and social needs of their littlest patrons. This book:

  • explores multiple aspects in the developing life of a baby, discussing physical needs, emotional expressions, intellectual pursuits, and social development;
  • highlights real-life examples from public libraries that relate to how these developmental processes present themselves while babies and families interact in the library;
  • presents Baby Steps for each topical area, providing service tips and suggestions that can be easily or inexpensively put into practice;
  • offers Big Steps, conversational points that invite librarians to think creatively about further investment, support, funding, and collaborative efforts; and
  • includes carefully selected research findings and other information that can be used for planning, policymaking, and advocacy.

Knoll is a former children’s librarian and academic instructor. Her research has focused on the development of infants and toddlers and its implications for children’s librarianship.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. ALA Editions publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact us at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5052 or

Related Links

"Engaging Babies in the Library: Putting Theory into Practice"

"Once Upon a Cuento: Bilingual Storytimes in English and Spanish"

"Supercharged Storytimes: An Early Literacy Planning and Assessment Guide"


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

American Library Association

ALA Publishing