Ten fingers and ten toes. As I stared down at the squirming bundle in my arms, focused on the soft burbling noises it made, and let the smell of warm skin and powder soothe me, that was the phrase playing on repeat in my head: ten fingers and ten toes. That’s what my family told me. As long as my baby has “ten fingers and ten toes,” then everything is all right. But as I walked into my home for the first time with this new addition to the family, I was riddled with questions.
What about the things that I can’t see? How will I know if my child is on track for learning to walk, talk, read, and other the milestones of childhood? What does this tiny person need in order to be ready for school and to succeed in life? And… where do I go for help?
Children don’t come with instruction manuals, but—as key institutions in the community—your library can offer a wealth of resources, useful appendices to that non-existent handbook. Many Texas public libraries address early learning by joining the Family Place Libraries™ network—a nationwide community of children’s library workers who believe that literacy begins at birth and that libraries can help build healthy communities by nourishing healthy families.
With the help of their state libraries, these libraries not only transform their physical spaces but also offer programming to build a foundation for learning during the critical first years of life. In short, they provide the kind of key early childhood and family support services that parents need through a program of workshops, community resource professionals, and a collection of parenting books. So, whether you’re interested in introducing the Family Place method to your community or expanding this service model to pockets that are underserved, the Texas Family Place Libraries™ Project is an opportunity to strengthen your implementation of best practices for serving your communities’ youngest patrons.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is pleased to announce that the FY 2024 Family Place Libraries™ Project grant application opens on Friday, September 1! TSLAC is looking for qualified libraries to attend a Family Place Libraries Training Institute at the new Round Rock Public Library in Round Rock, Texas, and implement the program in their libraries.
The purpose of this grant is to create a welcoming, family-centered environment that empowers caregivers of young children as they become their child’s first and continual teachers. This grant will provide funding for the equipment and training necessary for each library to:
- Host workshops for children ages 0-3 and their caregivers.
- Develop an interactive space for this age group to play and learn in the library.
- Forge strong partnerships with organizations serving young children and their families.
In addition to offering this opportunity to new libraries interested in the program, TSLAC is also offering established, qualified, Family Place Libraries the opportunity to apply for funding to expand the Family Place program into one additional branch in their library system this fiscal year.
If chosen to participate in the 2024 cohort, new and expansion libraries can expect to have staff members attend a training in Round Rock, Texas, in May 2024. To offset the cost of travel, TSLAC will provide each attendee up to $700 in travel stipends. Moreover, following training, TSLAC will reimburse participating libraries up to $6,000 to purchase the supplies necessary to launch a successful Family Place Library location at their facility.
APPLICATIONS OPEN FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 1! The applications will close for submissions on Sunday, October 1, 2023. The application is entirely online and can be accessed after logging into the TSLAC Grants Management System.
As you prepare to apply for the grant, please pay close attention to the appropriate Notice of Funding Opportunity. Inside, you will find information on eligibility requirements as well as a scoring matrix that will provide guidance on the best information to include in your application to ensure the best scoring outcome.
The links below will, respectively, take you to the Family Place Libraries™ Project resources webpage where you can peruse the notice of funding opportunity and the GMS site so you can log in to begin your application:
IMPORTANT!! When you reach the budget portion of your application:
- Be sure to include estimates for travel costs and supporting documentation.
- Fill in the line specific to Materials and Supplies by typing “Recommended Family Place Supplies” in the space for a description. The dollar amount should be $6,000.
This project is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.