This week the SLIC blog looks at the Every Child A Library Member initiative which aims to introduce library membership at key stages throughout the early years.

The project has formed two stages – a research phase followed by recommendations. SLIC Project Officers spent the first few months travelling the country speaking to library services about project work undertaken for ECALM and the progress being made.

The findings will form the basis of an ECALM family engagement programme and a toolkit for library services.

Engagement Programme & Toolkit

Back in 2015 local authorities developed several PLIF funded projects which aimed to register every child in their area to the library, using methods such as registration at birth, P1 or secondary school. A year later an evaluative review was published which demonstrated each method had unique benefits and challenges. How ECALM has since developed and grown, has been a key part of the initial information gathering stage of the current project.

Now the information gathered will develop an engagement programme and toolkit which will enable services to forge stronger links with children and their families as well as other partners and programmes delivering services to children.

This work is crucial to giving our young people the best start in life and ensuring positive destinations for school leavers.

Developing ECALM

SLIC Project Officer Marion Kunderan said: “There is a strong case that ECALM needs to reach families at multiple intervention points, engaging and re-engaging with families as children grow and learn. Fundamentally, we have heard again and again from services that ECALM is about building and maintaining relationships to create the library users of the future and fostering a culture of lifelong learning within the family unit.”

The next stage of the project will involve collecting existing resources from across local authorities and developing new ones to support the ongoing work of ECALM. This will ensure library services are able to increase their offer to families using methods and engagement strategies that have proven to be successful.

*Anyone wishing to pass on tested resources (publicity, event plans, advocacy tools, etc.) can email the SLIC ECALM team so they can be considered for inclusion or adapted for use nationally. Requests for specific resources to be developed to support ECALM work may also be sent in.