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A Resource for Libraries

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Kids and their parents at the library Parents playing peek-a-boo A parent reading a book with a child Kid playing at the library

Who is ELF?

Growing Young Minds The California State Library's Early Learning with Families or ELF initiative is part of a nationwide movement committed to making 'early learning' a priority essential to our economic and civic future. A recent IMLS report entitled, Growing Young Minds, makes the case for why and how libraries and museums are important pillars of this early learning movement.

In California, ELF represents a broad array of advisers, libraries, and community partners from throughout the state who are dedicated to providing developmentally appropriate library services, programs and resources to young children, their families and caregivers. Libraries of every shape and size – from large urban centers to small rural communities – are implementing ELF principles and practices. Many are working collaboratively across public library departments, coordinating Youth Services programs and Library Literacy Services to support the whole family. They are also partnering with childcare providers, Head Start facilities, preschools and First 5 Commissions to help ensure a continuum of quality early learning environments and experiences for all children.

An ELF self-assessment scale has been developed to help libraries chart their progress along a continuum as they continue to deepen and evolve their services to young children and families.