A group of kids stand together and make hand motions.

Design and Outreach

Design

Intentionally designing your library’s Stay & Play helps paint a picture of how it will support the needs of your FFN community and library. Your program design will clarify the desired impact that Stay & Play will help achieve.

You can use this Logic Model Template with instructions to help you create a “roadmap” or understanding for what you hope to achieve through your Stay & Play program. Use it to generate ideas and outline a plan to incorporate the five components: outreach, play, storytime, food, and resources. It is meant to be revisited periodically, to be revised and updated as programming shifts. Here are two examples of completed logic models from the pilot libraries.

Outreach

Once you have conducted a library and community assessment, and designed your Stay & Play, you are ready to create your outreach strategy.

A free publication that can help you pull together your messaging for Stay & Play is the: “Labor of Love: Family, Friends and Neighbors who care for young children: A messaging guide for organizations, leaders, and advocates.”

Here are some first-hand lessons learned from the pilots, for successful outreach:

Talking points

Prior to conducting outreach, make sure your library staff have created talking points that can help them explain Stay & Play.

Create a flyer

Create a flyer in the languages of your community to let people know about the program and when and where to access it. See a sample flyer from Grass Valley. Specifically mentioning “grandparents, friends, neighbors” in the flyer helps FFN caregivers feel invited.

Direct Outreach

Often the best places to find caregivers are where they pay, play, and pray (e.g. stores, parks, WIC, schools, county fairs, farmers markets, neighboring homes, churches, and laundromats). Also think about where FFNs are already served such as Family Resource Centers, Child Care Alternative Payment agencies, Child Care Local Planning Councils (LPCs), Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, Foster Care agencies, Child Care Advocates, or Senior Centers. These are all good places to advertise your program. You may want to specifically reach out to some of the same caregivers you conducted your community assessment with, as well as the parents in your storytimes and ask them to pass out flyers, invite them to come themselves, and ask them to spread the word to those they know.

Find Community Leaders to Help Spread the Word

Based on your community assessment, reach out to the leaders who have social capital with grandparents, providers, the community as a whole (ie. grandparents already connected to the library, church leaders, school advisory board leaders, town council, crossing guards, community elders). Talk to them in person, explain the program goals and content, invite them to visit, give them flyers, and ask them to spread the word.

Use Volunteers

Consider setting up a volunteer opportunity where parents, caregivers, and other enthusiastic supporters can be trained and recognized for this outreach work. Make sure that the volunteers:

  • Speak the languages of the caregivers in the community
  • Have attended the program or are familiar with the goals and know the intended audience — talking points and a flyer to share can be very helpful

Try “Pop Up” Demonstrations in a Park

Set up and host a sample Stay & Play in one or more neighboring parks as follows:

  • On the same day and time of future Stay & Play
  • Utilize the same Stay & Play staff
  • Invite caregivers and children to participate in subsequent Stay & Plays at the library
  • Pass out flyers about the program

Radio Stations

Although you may need to pay for this type of advertising, you will have a marketing avenue that is culturally and linguistically specific. The radio may also offer free public service announcements for a library’s Stay & Play program.

Media

Use your library’s social media accounts to post and share Stay & Play events. Traditional media can be a great way to highlight longer stories such as these two articles about the pilot project: Stay & Play and Learn at the Library and Celebrating National Library Week!