Public Library - Head Start Partnerships for Early Childhood Education and Family Literacy
Letter from the TSLAC Director, Peggy D. Rudd
12 September 2002
Dear Public Library Director:
Public libraries have always been an open door for early learning and pre-reading skill development for our youngest children. Often, public libraries target early childhood services to local Head Start and child care centers, their staff, and the children and families they serve.
Recognizing this special role of public libraries, I am very pleased to announce that the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the Texas Head Start Association, and the federal Administration for Children and Families formalized a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to encourage and support collaborations between public libraries and Head Start centers throughout Texas. (A copy of this MOU is enclosed for your reference.) This MOU symbolizes state and federal support for strengthening public library and Head Start center partnerships to enhance the early childhood learning experiences of Head Start children.
In the coming weeks, Head Start agencies throughout Texas will receive letters similar to this one encouraging them to contact their local public libraries to initiate library card campaigns and local collaboration agreements. In conjunction with National Library Card Sign Up Month in September, Texas public libraries are encouraged to work with local Head Start agencies to ensure that every Head Start child, parent, and staff member receive library cards, if they do not already have one.
There is a natural partnership between public libraries and Head Start centers. Both are vitally concerned with the education and well being of young children and have missions that support early childhood education. Partnerships throughout the United States were encouraged by the very successful Library-Museum-Head Start Partnership Project administered by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress from 1992-1997. This nationwide project was carried out with the collaboration of the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. During the 1990s, many partnerships blossomed in Texas cities after the Center for the Book hosted a statewide project workshop and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission offered regional workshops in five Texas cities.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission commends and supports Library-Head Start collaborations and encourages the development of local MOUs. An example of a model Memorandum of Understanding is enclosed for your use. I encourage you to apply for TSLAC's Special Project Grant Program to seek funding for such collaborations.
I hope you will use the enclosed materials to support your local partnership with Head Start centers and child care centers in your community. Enclosed please find:
- Memorandum of Understanding signed by the regional director for the federal Administration for Children and Families, the Texas Head Start Association, and TSLAC
- Texas Library Association "Resolution on the Administration for Children and Families Library Initiative" (adopted by TLA Council July 23, 2002)
- "Tips for Reading to Your Child" (in English and Spanish)
- "Books for Preschool Children" (in English and Spanish)
- Survey on Public Library Collaboration with Head Start and/or Child Care Centers
- Example of a local Memorandum of Understanding
It is my hope that this Memorandum of Understanding and the enclosed materials will help strengthen Library and Head Start partnerships for child and family literacy throughout Texas.
Peggy D. Rudd
Director and Librarian