"The children who attend the Parent/Child Workshop are already getting excited about going to the library at an early age and parents are taking the initiative to get them involved in other programs...!" ~ Library Director, Francis Vita
Quarryville Public Library is a small library situated in a rural area of Lancaster County PA where it is surrounded by an active Amish community and lots of family farms. When former children’s librarian Frances Vita was hired as the new director in 2006, her dedication to children’s services was immediately apparent. She quickly worked with her library board to assure the hire of a full time children’s librarian.
That same fall, Ms. Vita attended the Family Place Libraries Institute on Long Island and knew she had her work cut out for her. Even though they had a relatively new library building, they were already running out of shelving space and didn’t yet have a parenting collection. In addition, as one of only two full time staff members, Ms. Vita was stretched thin.
Despite these challenges, the Quarryville Public Library has become a stellar example of what a FP library can be for its community. Children’s services are thriving and the library has become a central aspect of its community’s early childhood services. Says Ms. Vita, “Because of Family Place the Quarryville Library has been serving families and young age groups in our community that would not normally be using our services… Parents and children feel at ease in the library’s relaxing and inviting environment where they can bond and learn together through play.”
When Family Place staff last visited Quarryville Public Library, it was a beautiful summer morning and there weren’t any scheduled programs at the library that day. Still, it was bustling with activity. Both the children’s and the adult’s computer banks were full and there were people spread out in every available table and nook. Patrons were reading, sharing books and playing with the developmentally appropriate toys, puzzles, stuffed animals and books on the public floor.
Parent Child workshops have become a big success at Quarryville Public Library. Ms Vita says that the parents have expressed an appreciation for the relaxing and inviting environment where they can “freely speak with professionals about their child’s development, speech patterns, nutrition, literacy, and movement. It has been a wonderful success, and we are so happy with all the positive feedback we receive! The children who attend Family Place are already getting excited about going to the library at an early age and parents are taking the initiative to get them involved in other programs as well as using our many resources. I recommend this program to every library who is seeking to offer young children and their parents a successful early learning program!”