Great Start Collaborative Partner Spotlight: Kent District Library

Kent District Library has been actively involved in the community and the GSC for many years. Families are able to access a large variety of services and resources through their locations online. They are also one of our Success Basics partners. To learn more about everything they have to offer for the families you serve read below. Thank you to Sara McMullin for taking the time to share all of these great resources!

What programs do you offer for young children and their families? 

Kent District Library (KDL) believes in the importance of literacy for all ages and this starts with ensuring that children learn to love reading at an early age.  Storytimes generate excitement about reading and engage children and their caregivers in the 5 Success Basics.  KDL provides a variety of storytime platforms that cater to the different needs of their patrons including babytime, toddlertime, family storytime, rhyme time, yoga storytime, sensory storytime, and more.

With Covid-19, librarians showcased their creativity in the new ways they provided programming to patrons.  Virtual storytimes are now a regular part of KDL’s programming.  With children being unable to come into the library to do crafts during the initial stages of the pandemic, KDL staff created take and makes that focus on different skills and age groups.  Book bundles and curbside to-go are provided services for patrons so that everyone may receive their materials.

KDL offers a number of programs for young children and their families.  Our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten (1KB4K) program encourages children and their caregivers to engage in the skill of reading together.  1KB4K challenges children to improve their literacy skills and rewards them when they reach reading milestones, making literacy exciting and fun.  When children begin kindergarten, they are encouraged to enroll in KDL’s Mission Read program for school age children.

Summer is an exciting time for children and KDL’s summer reading program, Summer Wonder, engages children’s natural curiosity to ensure that they continue learning during the break from school.  Summer Wonder challenges children to read, discover nature, and explore STEAM elements.

Special quarterly programs designed for the entire family take place throughout the year, bringing stories to life through music, play, dance, and movement.  KDL’s Bookmobile goes out into the community to reach underserved populations, bringing the library directly to patrons who may not normally be able to access it.

KDL provides an abundance of early literacy resources to their patrons, including early literacy calendars, activities, and take and makes.  These all reflect the 5 Success Basics.

How do families enroll in your programs?

There are a number of ways that families may enroll in KDL’s programs such as 1KB4K.  For example, most of our programs allow families to sign up using a pre-created packet that includes the necessary starting resources for the program in any KDL branch or online at

While KDL is currently unable to host in-branch storytimes due to government restrictions, KDL offers a variety of virtual storytimes and outdoor storytimes to meet the needs of their patrons.  These storytimes are available through facebook, youtube, or Instagram.  Patrons can access a schedule of stortyimes at or in a KDL program guide.

Some examples of virtual and outdoor storytimes that KDL staff produce on a regular basis are family storytime, babytime, celebrating your community storytime, evening storytime, and sensory storytime.

How does your organization use parent voice to inform your programs?

KDL uses parent voice to inform our programs by means of surveys, patron feedback forms, website feedback, interaction via social media platforms, and direct intake from parents to staff members through one on one conversations.

What do you most appreciate about your GSC membership?

I greatly appreciate the wonderful partnerships that foster early literacy and promote the sharing of resources and community collaboration.



Funding from the Office of Great Start within the Michigan Department of Education supports the implementation of Great Start.