NATIONAL ORGANIZATION HONORS NORFOLK PUBLIC LIBRARY FOR FAMILY PLACE PROGRAM
Norfolk, VA (September 26, 2005) - At a celebration on Wednesday, October 12 at 11:30 a.m., Libraries of the Future will honor Norfolk Public Library as the 1st Family Place Library in Virginia. Kathleen Deerr, Assistant Director of Outreach Services and the National Family Place Project for the Middle Country Public Library, will present the Library with a Family Place banner. A light luncheon will follow the event.
Since launching the Family Place initiative last Fall, Norfolk Public Library has seen an increase in the number of families and young children visiting the library. "The sense of isolation that many families experience in today's world is diminished through increased contact with other parents and professionals while participating in our Family Place programming. Children also gain socialization, language development and motor skills as well as reading and school readiness," says Norfolk Public Library Director Norman Maas.
Family Place Libraries are centers for early childhood information, parent education, early literacy, socialization and family support. Expanding the traditional role of children's services, Family Place builds on the knowledge that good health, early learning, parental involvement and supportive communities play a critical role in young children's growth and development. The 1-2-3, Grow With Me, Parent-Child Workshop and Kid's Zone are two core components of Family Place.
The Parent-Child workshop brings toddlers and their parents together in an informal interactive setting featuring a variety of toys and play equipment. Participants meet for five consecutive weeks. During the workshop, parents sit on the floor with their youngsters and engage in casual play. There is no speaker and no podium. Friendly, knowledgeable resource professionals circulate among the group, talking to parents one on one about their individual concerns. Each week features a different subject. The topics include Nutrition, Child Development and Play, Speech, Language and Reading, and Physical Fitness- Movement. The workshop also offers early intervention screening.
Kid Zone has replaced the traditional children's department. The area is now a child-friendly haven offering an interactive, creative environment for children and their parents. Colorful developmentally appropriate toys encouraging participation can be found throughout the new space. Children laughing and playing with bead boards, sand tables, magnetic letters, blocks, games, puzzles and more are now a daily scene at the library. The area is a more welcoming place where parents and their children come together to learn. While the children play, parents can browse at a comprehensive collection of books, brochures, videos, kits, and magazines on topics ranging from toilet training and breast-feeding, to temper tantrums and child development. In addition, the library's website has incorporated a family page that has many pertinent links and tips for parents.
The next Parent-Child Workshop will be held at Lafayette Branch Library starting on October 18. Families interested in registering should contact Terri Wanser at 664-7323 ext. 43748. For more information on Family Place or on other library programs and services visit the library's web site at www.npl.lib.va.us.