"My town officials think all we're running here is a babysitting service" a librarian recently shared in a moment of frustration. She went on to mention studies about the proven impact on cognitive abilities when toddlers are actively engaged in library programs like Lapsit versus passively engaged with toys & videos.
This was news to me; my how the educational product companies and toy manufacturers had shaped my understanding! <strong>I also hadn't thought of toddler programs as educational initiatives.</strong> When I've seen adults and toddlers together at the library, I've usually thought "<em>oh, aren't those kids adorable</em>" and "<em>I'm glad people are getting together to have fun</em>". Though it now seems obvious, the educational and literacy component of Lapsit was lost on me.
This last point was intriguing, so I did some quick research. I googled "Lapsit" and got plenty of results from library websites around the country. I clicked through to the top 20 (all different libraries, by chance) and searched for the terms <em><strong>literacy</strong></em> and <em><strong>education</strong></em> in the page content, in images or as part of the navigation.
<li>80% made no mention of literacy or education in conjunction with Lapsit</li>
<li>20% contained the term literacy</li>
<li>10% contained the terms literacy and education</li>
Clearly these stats don't tell the whole story, but they tell a good one about the help libraries need presenting information to the public.