Public libraries are amazing places to bring children and babies. However, this runs counter to the common library stereotype–a space that requires quiet and a studious atmosphere. So libraries partner with community organizations in order to build relationships and share their great programs and resources for families. A great example is “Loud at the Library.” The name itself contradicts the standard “shhhh” library stereotype!
What is Loud at the Library?
Loud at the Library is a collaboration between a number of organizations including the Seattle Public Library, Public Health–Seattle & King County, Nurse Family Partnership and Vroom.
The Library’s Early Learning Program Manager partners with Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) to bring first time moms to the library. Loud at the Library events help moms and babies feel comfortable coming to the library in a very welcoming environment and in the company of a trusted relationship–their NFP nurse. The gatherings include culturally appropriate stories and early literacy tips plus time for free play, snacks, art, and socializing. Parents can also be supported in applying for their free library card and introduced to many other community resources.
Who are the Partners?
Nurse-Family Partnership helps transform the lives of young, low-income mothers pregnant with their first child. The program matches mothers with registered nurses from pregnancy through a child’s second birthday. This connection allows nurses to deliver the support first-time moms need to have a healthy pregnancy, become knowledgeable and responsible parents, and provide their babies with the best possible start in life. The relationship between mother and nurse provides the foundation for strong families, and lives are forever changed—for the better.
Vroom is present at Loud at the Library events as a great community resource for parents. A nationwide initiative that empowers parents and caregivers to play a proactive role in their children’s early brain development, Vroom brings forth creative tools and materials that inspire families to turn shared moments between caregiver and child into brain building moments through more than 1,000 parent tips, deployed in a variety of ways. Vroom, with its parent-friendly, parent-facing language, can maximize the strengths and resources of families, within communities.
Both NFP and Vroom are part of Public Health-Seattle & King County and supported by Best Starts for Kids.
The Seattle Public Library aims to provide library services that support youth and families in academic success, career readiness and life. In addition to providing the welcoming space, the library wants to affirm the parents’ role as the first and most important teacher for their babies and toddlers. Loud at the Library events centers families, strengthens relationships and shifts the traditional program design of libraries in a good way. By hosting Loud at the Library events at library locations all over the city, it brings the program closer to families and prioritizes families and their needs.
Building community and happiness
Loud at the Library coordinators often hear comments from attendees like these:
- “When can we do this again?”
- “I really liked meeting the other women in the program.”
- “I loved the activities and I started doing some of them at home with my baby.”
D attended a Loud at the Library event at the invite of her NFP nurse. D is 29 years old with an 8 month old daughter. Her partner was in jail for domestic violence against her and she felt socially isolated. D was recently certified in Zumbini, a version of Zumba that includes children and hoped to use her newly acquired teaching skills to meet other moms and babies. Her NFP nurse encouraged her to teach a Zumbini class, and despite her nervousness, she did it and it was a huge success! She felt very validated and inspired to partner with the library for future Zumbini classes.
L also attended a Loud at the Library event at the invite of her NFP nurse. L is 21 years old with a 6 month old baby. Thanks to a hit and run accident, L did not have a vehicle and took 2 buses to attend the event. Her NFP nurse held her baby while she engaged in the activities and chatted with other moms. As she felt more comfortable, she told her nurse that she had a job interview in 2 days but was very stressed that she had nothing appropriate to wear. L’s nurse connected her to resources and L went directly to Dress for Success following the Loud at the Library event. She found a professional outfit and landed the job!
We are glad to be a part of this supportive partnership!