Enriching Library Services

Early Learning with Families (ELF) 2.0 is a California State Library initiative intended to further the evolution of library services to young children (0-5), their families and caregivers. The initiative is based on the knowledge that the first five years of life are critical in the formative development of children and families, and that libraries can and should be one of the community pillars that support and nurture optimal early childhood development.

"Every dollar invested in quality early childhood programs produces a 7-10% per annum return in better education, health, social, and economic outcomes for the nation."

— Nobel Laureate in economics, Professor James Heckman

Libraries reach millions of children and their adult caregivers each year. Libraries serve their communities by providing rich learning experiences as well as information and resources to help meet community, family and individual needs. ELF libraries create engaging, family-focused, child-centric, developmentally appropriate programs and services that support family strengths and nurture young children's bodies, minds and spirits.


For more information about ELF 2.0 contact:

California State Library
Library Development Services Bureau
Phone: 916-651-9796
Fax: 916-653-8443

Video about Early Learning with Families ELF 2.0


No one is born grateful…but gratitude can be learned. Toddlers are, by definition, egocentric. However, children as young as 15 to 18 months can begin to grasp concepts that lead to gratitude. By age 4, children can understand being thankful not only for material things like toys but also for acts of kindness, love, and caring. For specific tips on how to help children develop an attitude of gratitude, click the Michigan State University PDF below.



Good things are happening in California libraries. Many have spent years dedicating resources and staff expertise to designing and delivering quality early learning services for families. It is through their work and this statewide ELF initiative that promising practices continue to evolve and grow.