Abstract: Promoting Parenting through Public Library Enhanced Storytime Programming (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

451 Promoting Parenting through Public Library Enhanced Storytime Programming

Thursday, May 30, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Michelle Taylor, PhD, Assistant Professor, California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Megan E. Pratt, PhD, Assistant Professor of Practice, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
Diana E. Gal-Szabo, MS, Graduate Research Associate, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
Larissa Michelle Gaias, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Introduction: Intervention efforts to support school readiness often take place within homes and schools. However, experiences in community-based settings (e.g., libraries, parks, museums) also play a central role in the lives of families (Callanan, Castañeda, Luce, & Martin, 2017). By offering programming designed to enhance parenting and child development in free and accessible spaces, public libraries hold great potential to promote parent and child well-being. The present study examines the impact of a library-based, enhanced storytime program to improve socio-emotionally supportive parenting interactions with their child.

Books Can…© is a parent-child interactive public library program for caregivers and their preschool-age children. It is aligned with state guidelines and early learning standards for socio-emotional development. Trained library staff deliver six weekly, 45-minute enhanced storytime sessions that include songs/rhymes, books, hands-on activities, and explicit teaching of positive parenting practices.

Method: We conducted a randomized control trial to examine the effect of Books Can…© on parents’ socio-emotionally supportive interactions with their preschool-aged children. Drawing from a majority Hispanic/Latino sample (61%; 51% Spanish speaking), 72% of parents reported a household income of less than $2500/month, and 40% reported that their highest level of education was a high school degree or less. Parents and children were video-taped during a free-play interaction at pre-test (N=107) and post-test (N=70). Trained and reliable observers coded videos for positive parenting behaviors: teaching language, emotion coaching, and praise.

Results: The difference between pre- and post-test for treatment and control families was tested using SPSS mixed, controlling for parent education. Full information maximum likelihood was used to handle missing data. A significant Treatment by Time effect indicated that parents in the intervention group demonstrated significantly more emotion coaching behaviors at post-test (F(103)=8.18, p=.005), compared to control group families. There was no significant treatment effect on teaching language or praise.

Conclusions: This study highlights the importance of including community-based settings in children’s learning ecosystems, and the untapped potential of public libraries to provide high quality early learning experiences for families with young children. By incorporating aspects of parent education into storytime programming, community-based settings can support family engagement and positive parenting practices that promote school readiness.