Early Learning with Families | A Resource for Libraries

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.

"In 2014, more than a 1000 public libraries throughout California (in small rural hamlets and in large urban municipalities), were visited by more than 6 million young children. In fact, public libraries were second only to public parks as the MOST frequented destination by families with young children." Applied Survey Research & California State Library Statistics

ELF libraries serve their communities by providing high quality, engaging, family-focused, and developmentally appropriate early learning services that support family strengths and nurture young children's bodies, minds and spirits. Download a PDF of our 2016 ELF Impact Report.


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


Children’s natural learning techniques (like pretend play, games, and conversing with others) have been scientifically shown to be better suited to meeting the challenges of the information age than the teaching methods of the past two centuries. How might this knowledge help us rethink preschool programs in libraries? For more, see PDF.



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.