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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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Today’s library is a modern, evolving community space of education and support, a place where families can participate in learning activities with their children, access valuable information, secure passes to local museums, and connect with other families and community organizations. We are pleased to share several resources on libraries where learning actively occurs for the whole family. 

  • Libraries are spaces of creativity. Project-based and interest-based learning are especially fertile grounds for exploring and creating, and the library is the perfect space to discover the possibilities. The School Library Journal reports that school libraries are prime locations for maker spaces. Teachers and librarians team up to guide students in their explorations and creative problem solving, as students design, tinker, and construct with materials and technology.Cambridge Public Library
  • Libraries address educational achievement gaps by promoting early literacy. The Maryland Library Partnership project is an exciting example of how libraries create warm, welcoming environments for families with young children. The project links families to literacy-building resources and activities through Every Child Ready to Read @ your library, an evidenced-based literacy curriculum. The curriculum grew from a 10-year study comparing two libraries in Philadelphia, and found disparities in learning and information accumulation associated with class and income.
  • Libraries respond to families’ and communities’ changing needs. Communities value their libraries because they offer access to information, build community, and promote the transmission of stories and literacy. Moreover, libraries (and museums) are important resources for families to address their growing digital needs, as they are trusted institutions that provide free public-access computer and Internet usage, with a wide variety of resources, expertise, and connections to community resources.
  • Libraries connect people to resources, inside the library and out. Libraries support anywhere, anytime learning, because children―indeed, all of us―learn in all sorts of ways and in all sorts of venues, not just in school. For example, at various branches of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, teens can make robots or work with local musicians; staff at the library refer interested families to the nearby MAKESHOP at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.

September Is National Library Card Sign-Up Month. A library card is a passport to a world of information, resources, and learning, and it’s typically free to those who live within the service area!

© 2016 Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College
Published by Harvard Family Research Project