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Report Says Libraries, Museums Support Early Learning Efforts

In case you had doubts that buildings full of borrow-able books and artwork are a good thing, the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences and The Campaign for Grade-Level Reporting has released a report that says they are. 

Growing Young Minds: How Museums and Libraries Create Lifelong Learners was released on Thursday and discusses ways libraries and museums are supporting children.

Study author Mimi Howard said the goal of this paper was to focus on the development of early literacy skills by using these public resources.

“For many children and families who maybe don’t have access to rich kinds of resources and experiences that can help children develop those early literacy and school readiness skills that museums and libraries are really a perfect place for families to access those kinds of resources and services,” she said.

Howard said museums and libraries are good for enhancing the learning experiences kids are getting in schools.

While its difficult to find a person who doesn’t agree that libraries and museums are enriching places for people of all ages, Howard said she hopes this report gets those who create policy to think of incorporating these resources into public policy.

“Very often when you have a decision maker sitting around a table trying to think about how are we going to create a community or even a state-wide sort of approach to assuring that kids are ready for school and families have the supports they need, museums and libraries aren’t typically at that table," she said.

The report highlights 10 ways museums and libraries support early learning efforts including providing access to developmental screenings and vaccination programs. These institutions also provide access to all types of knowledge and cultural experiences. Howard said all of the research points to the early years of life being especially important in laying the foundation for all kinds of lifelong learning.

“What they need at that time is stimulation is a lot of experience, is exposure to rich language environment to be working with caring adults all things that will help with just boost that very rapid brain development that goes on in those early years,” she said.