Enriching Library Services

The Early Learning with Families (ELF 2.0) – statewide initiative builds on the earlier ELF initiative that the California State Library launched in 2006. This newest endeavor is intended to further the continued 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 2.0 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


Before the age of 5, the brain forms as many as 700 neural connections per second. This process of building the architecture of the brain is dramatically influenced by life experiences. An infant's brain is dependent upon responsiveness from adults and safe and enriching environments.


Many California libraries have spent years dedicating resources and staff expertise to designing and delivering quality early learning services for families. It is through their work and the more recent efforts of the ELF 2.0 initiative that promising practices continue to evolve and grow.