Arlington Public Library Receives National Designation as Family Place Library
The Arlington Public Library was formally designated as a Family Place Library Thursday, December 8, 2016. Family Place Libraries is a network of children’s librarians who believe that literacy begins at birth, and that libraries can help build healthy communities by nourishing healthy families.
The Library has always emphasized early childhood literacy. In 2015, staff began the process of joining Family Place Libraries’ national organization.
A Family Place Library has a welcoming space for children at its core. The Southeast Branch now features a family-friendly play area, full of toys for children ages 0 to 5. These toys are always available. Children use developmentally-appropriate toys such as blocks, costumes, puppets, and a toy kitchen whenever the Library is open.
Family Place Libraries also introduce parents to specialists on childhood development. Parents are their children’s first and most important teachers, but expert guidance is also valuable. Last fall, the Library offered a five-week class for children ages 0 to 4 and their parents. Children and their parents who attended the Family, Learn, and Play Group chatted with a different expert each week. Melody Shepherd, a Speech Language Pathologist who visited the group, noted that parents don’t often get one-on-one time with professionals. “I’m excited to work with the parents and interact with their children at the same time,” she said.
The Arlington Public Library was one of 36 Texas libraries that received funding to become a Family Place Library. The Texas State Library and Archives Commission provided for official staff training from Family Place Libraries. Librarian Kayla Parker and Program Management & Community Engagement Administrator Ivonne Kieffer attended four days of workshops in New York last fall. TSLAC also provided funding for the new toys, furniture, shelving, and parenting books available at the Southeast Branch.
The Family Place Library designation establishes the Southeast Branch as a hub for parent and community involvement. The Library plans to extend its participation in Family Place Libraries to other branches throughout the City.
This statewide project is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under the provision of the Library Services and Technology Act (2016), and in part by a State-funded grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Learn more about Family Place Libraries at http://www.familyplacelibraries.org/.