You are here

Primary Source Director's Message -- June 2011

Image Caption: 
IMLS Director Susan Hildreth
Friday, June 17, 2011

Primary Source
Vol 13, No. 5; June 2011

IMLS Director Susan HildrethPresident Obama recently kicked off the year of Strong Fathers, Strong Families as part of his Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative. It's an effort with partners from around the nation to create simple opportunities for dads and kids to connect. "Father's Day reminds us parents that we have no more solemn obligation than to care for our children. But far too many young people in America grow up without their dads, and our families and communities are challenged as a result," said President Obama. "Through my administration's fatherhood initiative and the year of Strong Fathers, Strong Families, we're taking steps to offer men who want to be good fathers a little extra help, while working with partners around the country to encourage personal responsibility and help fathers connect with kids."

Museums and libraries help spark that connection. They are places where fathers can discover more about what interests and engages their children; and they open doors for dads to support their children's learning. Museums and libraries across the country will be celebrating Father's Day with special activities for kids and dads. Libraries are free and open to the public and many museums, zoos and aquariums offer programs and free or discounted activities that are sure to keep dads and kids entertained.

Speaking of being entertained, June also signifies the end of the school year and beginning of summer. For many kids, this time of the year means summer camps and field trips...the fun stuff. However, museums and libraries are fun too! They create summer learning opportunities and offer a variety of activities that will reinforce the learning that took place in the classroom.

Summer is a great time to have fun and learn together especially because we know that kids can often fall behind and forget what they learned over the school year. New research conducted by the RAND Corporation and funded by the Wallace Foundation describes the benefits to school districts of summer learning programs - and encourages partnering with community organizations.

I encourage dads to take their children to local museums and libraries, continue the learning process started during the school year and be instrumental in helping prepare them for the year ahead.

—Susan Hildreth, Director, IMLS

IMLS Press Contacts
Natasha Marstiller,
Mamie Bittner,

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit