Great Learning

A Study of Early Learning Services in Museums and Libraries

Museums and libraries can play a role in providing opportunities for early learning, and there is clear momentum and infrastructure already in place to help make this happen. Researchers conducted a mixed-methods descriptive study to generate new evidence about the availability of services for young children in museums and libraries, and the factors that influence families’ participation. The study used interviews, focus groups, secondary data analysis, and a new survey to gather data from museum and library administrators, as well as families.
 
Through this study we find a range of diverse early learning programs in museums and libraries. We also find that even where museums and libraries exist, local community members don’t always take advantage of these resources. Families that participated in focus groups expressed a desire to be able to do more hands-on activities with their young children, but face many barriers in being able to access museums and libraries. Although there are efforts to increase the availability and quality of early childhood services in museums and libraries, capacity and expertise to effectively implement and sustain efforts are limiting. To increase the availability, access and benefit of early learning programs in museums and libraries, city and state leaders can facilitate partnerships among museums, libraries, and early learning programs.

Published: November 2017
Authors: 
P. Sirinides, R. Fink, T. DuBois
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