For immediate release | April 5, 2017

New publication offers practical ideas to help libraries engage families in learning and development

CHICAGO — The Public Library Association (PLA) and Global Family Research Project (GFRP) are proud to announce the release of their collaborative publication, Ideabook: Libraries for Families. This publication is intended to inspire libraries to create meaningful family engagement experiences by sharing the many innovative ways that their peers support and guide families in children’s learning and development in such areas as reading, mathematics, language and literacy.

“Libraries have become community hubs where children and families alike can gain new information and skills, and access valuable guidance and resources,” explains GFRP Director Heather B. Weiss. “By inspiring creative thinking, planning, and programming, we believe the report will help libraries and other family-serving organizations—regardless of their size, available resources, or location—to effectively and systematically engage families.”

The Ideabook is built upon a research-based framework that was outlined in PLA and GFRP’s 2016 publication, Public Libraries: A Vital Space for Family Engagement. The Ideabook highlights case studies from more than 50 libraries that are incorporating the five “Rs” of engagement—reach out, raise up, reinforce, relate, and reimagine—to develop meaningful, lasting relationships with families in their communities. It features programs from a wide variety of library types, including those that are well-resourced or lacking funds, and those that serve urban, suburban, and rural communities.

“In partnering with GFRP to create this report, we’ve been able to harness our collective expertise, knowledge, and passion for supporting libraries,” adds Kathleen Reif, co-chair of PLA’s Family Engagement Task Force. “Together, we have begun the process to encourage libraries to think more deeply and strategically about family engagement, and to learn from the best and brightest who are advancing this work.”

Ideabook: Libraries for Families and related resources are funded by a grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. For more information on PLA’s Family Engagement Initiatives, visit or contact Scott Allen at

About the Public Library Association

PLA is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 9,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders. For more information about PLA, visit

Related Links

Ideabook: Libraries for Families

Public Libraries: A Vital Space for Family Engagement


Laurence Deutsch

Manager, Communications

Public Library Association (PLA)