Building Early Literacy Through Libraries and Museums


Public libraries may seem like an easy place to trim some fat off local budgets. Indeed, according to the American Library Association, 40 percent of states cut library funding in 2011. But that approach may be undermining parallel efforts to boost investment in early childhood education.

A new report, Growing Young Minds: How Museums and Libraries Create Lifelong Learners*, highlights 10 ways that public museums and libraries work to support early learning, providing a bridge between informal and formal learning environments. Some of these supports include addressing the “summer slide” (learning lost over school vacations) and linking new digital technologies to learning.

The report, released by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in partnership with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading, also spotlights innovative early learning programs offered by a number of libraries and museums throughout the country, from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Anchorage Public Library in Alaska. At an event introducing the report on June 20 at the Anacostia Public Library in Washington, DC, IMLS Director Susan Hildreth said, “Now is the time for policy makers and practitioners to fully use the capacity of libraries and museums in their early learning efforts.”

Source: The New America Foundation

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