About Us - Issues

Early Learning

Museums and libraries have special roles in meeting the needs of the youngest learners and their caregivers.

Available Now: Growing Young Minds
The Growing Young Minds report, from the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and the Institute of Museum and Library Services calls upon policymakers, practitioners, and parents to make full use of libraries and museums, and the skills and talents of those who work in them, to close knowledge and opportunity gaps and give all children a strong start in learning.

Read full report (PDF, 1.7MB)
Cover of Growing Young Minds

Read Executive Summary (PDF, 0.8MB)
cover of Executive Summary

Learn more about our partnership with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

HHS logo
Partnership:
Head Start, Child Care, and Public Libraries
This partnership between IMLS and the HHS Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Head Start and Office of Child Care encourages collaboration between early childhood programs and public libraries to help meet the educational needs of young children and their families.

Let's Move logoNational Initiative: Let's Move! Museums & Gardens
This new national initiative will provide opportunities for millions of museum and garden visitors to learn about healthy food choices and promote physical activity through interactive exhibits and programs.

Search the Awarded Grants database for grants to programs that strengthen early learning (issue areas have only been assigned to grants awarded since FY 2009)

Early learning content on the IMLS website:
GoKids program at the Boston Children’s Museum
January 2012: Boston Children’s Museum Finds Community is Great Teacher


When the Boston Children’s Museum’s KidPower—a new health exhibit—became the anchor exhibit of its new wing, the Museum’s new health focus was literally front and center. They joined the ranks of children’s museums that are becoming a national force in combating childhood obesity and at the same time found they could learn valuable lessons from their local community. Read More

 
One of the Special Participating Youth (SPYs) plays at the Knight table with a Treehouse Museum visitor.
May 2011: A Knight at the Museum Encourages Family Reading through Learning Quest Adventures


The Treehouse Museum's A Knight at the Museum program provides opportunities for families of children enrolled in area Head Start programs and in local public schools to participate in storybook themed learning quests centered around the museum's resources. Thanks to funding by an IMLS Museums for America Engaging Communities grant, the Treehouse Museum updated its exhibits for the program and offered the event at reduced cost to area schools. Read More

 
Two girls play and learn in the Vietnamese Round Boat at Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.
October 2010: Attracting a Vietnamese Audience


When Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, California, set a goal to boost its overall attendance in a way that matched local demographics, it knew it had to attract a lot more Vietnamese visitors. That’s because San Jose has the largest urban Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam. During the museum’s three-year initiative, the staff learned a lot about the Vietnamese community and its internal divisions. Read More

 
Children participating in a Learn and Play program learn their ABC’s.
September 2009: Bringing Books and Literacy to the People


Sometimes the parents and children who would most benefit from library services are the ones who haven’t established the habit of visiting libraries. That’s what the Henderson District Public Libraries in Henderson, Nevada, discovered when planning a comprehensive early literacy program involving the whole community. The solution? Bring books and classes to the people. Read More

 
Children participate in PlayWorks™ at the Children's Museum of Manhattan
January 2009: PlayWorks™ Provides Whole-family Learning In a Child-friendly Environment


Children feed alphabet letters to a talking baby dragon, drive a New York City fire truck, paint on a six-foot art wall, and crawl through a challenge course in PlayWorks™ at the Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) in New York. Read More