The Youth Services Advisor supports library service to children, teens and families through consultation, professional development opportunities, and coordination of statewide initiatives. She also shares information on best practices and national initiatives among other topics via the Compendium and the Youth Services List. Currently, the main areas of development focus on summer reading, early learning and STEM.
Early Learning has two major initiatives
One Book, Every Young Child
The One Book, Every Young Child program goes far beyond just asking parents and caregivers to read a book to preschoolers. The program's design is based on studies showing that simply reading a book is not enough. Adults must find ways to engage children in activities like talking about a book's cover and illustrations, discussing the action in the book and favorite parts, pretend play related to the book, and more.
Cruise into Kindergarten
Pennsylvania's public libraries are passionately committed to strengthening children's early learning. The Cruise into Kindergarten initiative was launched in 2014 and was designed to provide a recognizable umbrella for the libraries' early learning programs and outreach throughout the state. The goal of the Cruise into Kindergarten program is to increase awareness of the importance of early learning in all communities in Pennsylvania through the collaboration of libraries and other state and local agencies involved with early learning.
Pennsylvania libraries have a long history of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programming. The state was a pilot state for a program created by the Vermont Center for the Book entitled What's the Big Idea?: Making Math and Science Come Alive for Children and Families in Your Library. Libraries continue to work with the Lunar and Planetary Institute to provide space science programs for school age children and teens. Materials for Block Parties have been given to 65 libraries across the state since 2013 and more will be available through 2016. Many libraries do not have the space to host Block Parties so a program called Wee Build has been created to fit in small libraries. Maker spaces are becoming more popular and interest adults and youth alike.