This study investigated how 26 Maryland public librarians were providing early literacy opportunities to young children and their families through their outreach services… All librarians knew the importance of forming home, school, and community partnerships and were working collaboratively among these spheres to help children succeed in school
Impact on Reading and Literacy
Schools and community organizations, such as libraries, can serve to support families, as well as provide direct literacy experiences to children and youth that complement family practices (Epstein & Sanders).
Four elements seemed to generate excitement about the public library: the ability to check out many titles at one time, the ability to choose what to read, the availability of family programs, and the fact that all of the above came at no cost.
For this family, the library facilitated parent-child bonds. The mother also saw it as a safe place for developing a love for books. She was acting as the one with knowledge who was supporting her child’s literacy growth.
Library attendance served as a springboard for parents to communicate messages about the expectations that they had for their children as readers.
The free-flowing nature of the library also allowed for parents to actively participate in their children’s reading. Noting the lack of literacy programs available for children at the shelter and in the community, one mother talked about the public library as being the place she could take her children to support their literacy development.
Libraries are well acquainted with the fact that preschool storybook reading experience is positively correlated with the development of a wide range of language and literacy abilities in young children. Furthermore, it is very common for libraries to provide in-house storybook reading programs at the library or to run outreach programs aimed at families…; child care professionals or preschool teachers…; or others in the community. Outreach projects typically seek to reach children directly through read-aloud programs or to educate parents, preschool teachers, or child care professionals in what and how to read to preschoolers.
Informational and collaborative networks of librarians and other professionals who serve preschoolers in child care can promote secure emotional growth so that a child grows up deeply confident that he or she is lovable and loved. This emotional foundation supports positive attitude towards learning and presages with high probability that, with the help of adult mentors, each child will become the kind of learner and reader who will succeed in school…
As parents watch a skilled librarian model reading to enthralled little ones, they learn how to modulate voice tones and add variety to the way words are used in order to attract children to a love of story time and books.
The librarian’s expertise in selecting and using materials is unique. The librarian is not an early childhood educator, but—by training and experience—the librarian is equipped to nurture the young child’s curiosity through his interest in stories and books. Moreover, the goals of the profession give librarians a vested interest in the child’s development of language and reading skills.