Opportunity Announcement – Play and Grow Library Project | Compendium

The Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11 on behalf of The Pennsylvania Department of Education, Office of Commonwealth Libraries, is accepting applications from public libraries to participate in the Play & Grow Library Project. The goal of the Play & Grow project is to assist libraries without a full-time children’s librarian in creating high quality preschool programming and creating early childhood areas that have high appeal to families with young children birth to entering Kindergarten. This opportunity uses federal funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Library Sciences and Technology Act (LSTA).

Project Description
This project will provide training and materials support for selected public libraries to develop a Play and Grow program.

The Play and Grow project focuses on library programming for early childhood that moves beyond storytimes including:

  • Infant and toddler activities that develop the whole child.
  • Collection development for children birth to five, as well as the adults in their lives.
  • Family engagement; including developing an understanding of the Strengthening Families Five -Protective Factors and Trauma Informed Care.
  • Importance of play.
  • Developing a Play and Grow space for families in your library.
  • Integrating opportunities for Social Emotional learning and emotional regulation into programming.

The Play and Grow Library project seeks libraries:

  • Whose children’s person works 25 hours or less per week; or libraries where the director or volunteer(s) presents the programs.
  • Who want to provide programming and support for all families in their community.
  • Who want to work with families to raise preschoolers who are curious, developing social and emotional skills, and who love to learn.

Selected libraries will be required to:

  • Attend and actively participate in four virtual training sessions on January 12, February 9, March 8, and May 10, 2024. Sessions will take place from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM and must be attended during that time. Participants should have access to the Zoom meeting platform on their device, as well as a web camera, microphone, and speakers or headset.
  • Complete two additional assigned 1-hour virtual trainings on your own schedule.
  • Ensure the library director attends an introductory webinar in December 2023.
  • Conduct at least two Play and Grow programs for children ages 0-5 by June 30, 2024.
  • Submit a final impact report by June 30, 2024.
  • Sustain the Play and Grow concept and programs for a minimum of two years.

Participating libraries will be provided with a Play and Grow materials kit for use in creating and/or updating an early childhood space, as well as the materials needed for preschool programming supporting the Play and Grow approach.

Ready to apply? Please click here to complete the application. A PDF of the Play and Grow Project 2024 Application Questions is attached for your reference.

Application deadline is 5:00 PM on Thursday, November 30, 2023.


Questions about this project may be sent to Heather Smith, Early Childhood Services Advisor, at sheather@pa.gov.


This project is made possible in part by federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Office of Commonwealth Libraries.