April 24, 2012


IMLS Press Contacts
Kevin O'Connell, koconnell@imls.gov
Mamie Bittner, mbittner@imls.gov

Administration for Children and Families Press Contact
Kenneth J. Wolfe, Kenneth.Wolfe@acf.hhs.gov

Yvette Sanchez Fuentes and Susan Hildreth read to a group of preschoolers at the DC Public Library.
Yvette Sanchez Fuentes and Susan Hildreth read to a group of preschoolers at the DC Public Library. Click image for a larger view.
Marcia Warner, Susan Hildreth, Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, Molly Raphael, and Ginnie Cooper
Left to right: Marcia Warner, Susan Hildreth, Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, Molly Raphael, and Ginnie Cooper. Click image for a larger view.

Washington, DC—IMLS Director Susan Hildreth on Monday joined Yvette Sanchez Fuentes, director of the Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) Office of Head Start, at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library to announce a partnership between IMLS, the Office of Head Start, and the ACF’s Office of Child Care. The three federal entities will be issuing an Information Memorandum to Head Start and Early Head Start Grantees and Delegate Agencies and Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Administrators, encouraging collaboration between early childhood programs and public libraries to help meet the educational needs of young children and their families.

"Nearly every public library in the country reports having delivered children’s programs in the last fiscal year, and they’ve been doing so for years," said Hildreth. "This makes them obvious partners for literacy initiatives in communities large and small. The partnership we’re announcing today will allow more children and their families to take advantage of the services libraries have to offer and enhance the benefits they receive from the programs of the Administration for Children and Families."

Speaking for her own office and on behalf of the Office of Child Care, Fuentes said, "Public libraries are rich learning environments for children, communities, and families." Noting that Head Start and the Center for the Book had a partnership in the 90s, Fuentes added, "We are here to formalize our relationship again and to do the necessary next steps."

The president of the American Library Association (ALA), Molly Raphael, described the important role libraries have played in early learning and explained how that role will be enhanced by the new partnership. "Ultimately, children stand to benefit tremendously from the partnership," she said. "Head Start programs will collaborate regularly with school and public libraries on events like story time, providing new books in Head Start classrooms, and promoting the use of library cards. Additionally, libraries would be able to support parents and caregivers in literacy efforts." Marcia Warner, president of the Public Library Association, a division of ALA, said, "Both Head Start and public libraries are working toward the same goals—enriching children’s lives, increasing school readiness for kids, and getting books into the hands of those kids. Head Start is a natural partner for our ‘Every Child Ready to Read’ focus:‘talking, writing, reading, playing, singing.’"

Prior to the announcement, Hildreth and Fuentes read to pre-school children from the Milestones Enhancement Center on 8th St NW in Washington.


  • Public libraries have developed a variety of early learning strategies building on current scientific evidence about brain development, early childhood development, and school readiness.
  • Services for young children and their families are designed with the recognition that the library may be the primary place in a community where parents and early educators have access to specialized materials and programs. In addition to direct services, public librarians create strong partnerships with community organizations to reach the children most at risk.
  • Public libraries offer critical intergenerational and interagency programs, with the intent to educate not only children but their parents and caregivers as well.
  • Early childhood programs can use local librarians as consultants on such topics as extending lesson plans; aligning books with specific topics; providing material resources like puppets, music, and props; and providing ideas on expanding literacy throughout early childhood classrooms.


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. Through grant making, policy development, and research, we help communities and individuals thrive through broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage, and lifelong learning. To learn more about IMLS, please visit www.imls.gov.

About the Office of Head Start Head Start provides grants to local organizations to provide comprehensive child development services to low-income children from birth to five years of age, pregnant women, and their families. Today, nearly 1,600 Head Start and Early Head grantees across the country provide early learning services to our nation’s most vulnerable infants, toddlers and preschoolers. For more information on the Office of Head Start visit http://transition.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ohs or log onto Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center at http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc.

About the Office of Child Care
The Office of Child Care (OCC), in the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, administers the $5 billion Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program and works with State, Territory, and Tribal governments to provide support for children and their families in finding affordable, high-quality child care. OCC is committed to helping more children in low-income families access high-quality care. For more information visit www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ccb/index.html.