Assessing the impact and engagement of public libraries’ services for young children and their families

In recent years there has been a growing interest in assessing the impact and engagement of public libraries. Our research is taking a step in that direction by assessing the impact of two library services—provided by Libraries ACT—for young children and their families: (1) Giggle and Wiggle and (2) Story Time. We are studying the impact and engagement of these programs across four domains including educational, social, cultural, and economic. Our assessment will look at the gains in knowledge and skills of children as linked to the six variables identified by National Early Literacy Panel being strong predictors of later literacy development. These variables include (a) alphabet knowledge, (b) phonological awareness, (c) rapid automatic naming, (d) rapid automatic naming of objects or colours, (e) writing or writing name, and (f) phonological memory. The perceptions of participants in these programs (both parents/caregivers and librarians) will also be explored around the four domains identified above. Economic contributions of the two services will be estimated by assessing the economic benefit and economic activity generated by these programs. We have already completed the first phase of study during which we collected data from multiple Giggle & Wiggle as well as Story Time sessions. We also interviewed librarians to gather their perceptions about these sessions. Currently, we are analysing the data so please stay tuned for future updates.

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