The Tyler Public Library has been awarded a $6,000 grant through the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), funded through the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), to become a Family Place Library (FPL) site. A FPL is established through a network of children’s librarians nationwide who believe that literacy begins at birth and that libraries can help build healthy communities by nourishing healthy families. Now, children three and younger and their caregivers will have designated activities and programs at the Tyler Public Library specifically designed to lay a strong foundation for literacy.

Multiple studies have shown that developing early literacy, or “pre-reading” skills in the first three years is a predictor of later academic success.

“Literacy development begins in infancy,” said Tyler Youth Services Librarian Linda Gray, MLS. “Parents and caregivers are the primary teacher in these years and the Family Place Library model provides a place for children to learn with their caregivers through developmentally-appropriate activities and play.”

The $6,000 award will help transform the Library’s children’s area through the addition of new educational toys, collections of books and audio visual materials. Workshops will also be added to further enhance the program.

The new materials are designed to encourage literacy development as well as be a resource library for parents and caregivers. These items will be available in-Library use or for checkout.

In addition to materials, the grant funds sent Tyler Library staff members to receive multi-day extensive training in the FPL concept and tour other FPLs to see the concept in action.

“We are so grateful to TSLAC and the IMLS for giving us the opportunity to offer a program like this to our youngest patrons,” said Mary Vernau, City librarian. “To be able to offer families the tools they need to help give their children the best possible start to a lifetime of learning, through a program with such a good established track record, is a real boon to this community.”

For more information on this program, please call (903) 593-READ (7323), email Linda Gray at or visit