Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

DU creates first-ever certificate in childhood librarianship

Parents, caregivers and schools all play integral roles in building early childhood literacy, but local libraries — and their librarians — often are the tie that brings them all together.

As a result, the Library and Information Science (LIS) program in DU’s Morgridge College of Education is partnering on a one-of-a-kind certificate in early childhood librarianship.

The new certificate will prepare librarians to serve the early literacy needs of their communities. It will incorporate coursework and on-site learning experiences developed in conjunction with public libraries and child development and early childhood education partners.

Mary Stansbury, associate professor and LIS chair, says the program takes into consideration the needs of the early childhood learner.

“The Early Childhood Librarianship program will provide an interdisciplinary curriculum that includes a combination of LIS coursework and child, family and school psychology coursework in brain development, language acquisition and special needs,” she says.

Stansbury says students also will participate in on-site, hands-on learning in public libraries, early childhood education settings and early literacy advocacy organizations.

Stansbury says the new certificate fits with DU’s commitment to advancing the public good. 

“Early childhood literacy not only benefits the individual child, it benefits communities,” she says. “The long-term benefits of early childhood literacy and development include higher grades, greater ability to focus and being better prepared for success in school.”

She says some studies show that children attending preschool are more likely to graduate from high school and pursue a higher education — and that is good for everyone.

The certificate draws on courses and professors from four parts of the Morgridge College — the LIS program, the child, family and school psychology program, the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy, and the Fisher Early Learning Center.

Community partners for the program include the Arapahoe Library District, the Clayton Early Learning Institute, the Colorado State Library, the Denver Preschool Program, the Family Educational Network of Weld County, Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy and Douglas County Libraries.

DU has received $917,891 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to develop the program. The institute is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.

Stansbury says 10 early childhood librarianship fellows will be selected in spring of 2010 and the first class will begin in fall quarter 2010.

For more information, contact or download a program PDF.

Ed. Note: Early versions of this story misstated the program’s academic degree.

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