The American Library Association (ALA) and the Public Library Association, a division of ALA, have partnered to create a free toolkit for raising awareness of how libraries promote family engagement in their communities. The toolkit includes six new Because statement messages highlighting different aspects of family engagement; each statement is paired with key messages, supporting evidence, promotional ideas, and program ideas in action, as well as a variety of graphics for print and digital media.
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WHAT IS FAMILY ENGAGEMENT?
Family engagement is a shared responsibility among families, educators, and communities to support children’s learning and development. Family engagement begins at birth and continues through young adulthood. It happens everywhere children learn—especially at the library.*
Family engagement is about developing the knowledge, attitudes, values, and behaviors that enable children to be motivated, enthusiastic, and successful learners. In libraries, this means having respectful partnerships with families and providing information, guidance, and opportunities for families to be active in their children’s learning and development. Families support their children’s learning when they believe that they are responsible for their children’s education and feel confident that what they say and do makes a difference. Trusted community educators, including librarians, can encourage and inspire families to be engaged in their children’s learning at any point in a child’s lifetime.
Libraries can provide this inspiration and reaffirm family members’ important roles in their children’s learning by:
Reaching out: Libraries reach out to families, especially those in special circumstances, to promote the programs, collections, and services that are vital in a knowledge economy.
Raising up: Libraries elevate family perspectives to develop and improve programs and services.
Reinforcing: Libraries guide and model the specific actions that family members can take to support learning, from birth through young adulthood.
Relating: Libraries offer opportunities for families to build peer-to-peer relationships and increase social networks.
Reimagining: Libraries expand their community partnerships to reimagine ecologies of learning and how to support healthy children and families.
Learn more about The Five “Rs” and PLA’s family engagement initiatives by visiting http://www.ala.org/pla/initiatives/familyengagement.
*Weiss, Heather B., Margaret Caspe, M. Elena Lopez, and Lorette McWilliams. IDEABOOK: Libraries for Families. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Family Research Project, 2016.