The Program

Recognizing the unique space that libraries create for young children ages 0-5 and their caregivers, San José Public Library (SJPL) has developed an innovative suite of programs — collectively referred to as “Wee Programs” — designed to stimulate, strengthen, and educate young minds, to help them reach their full potential, and to engage their caregivers in a welcoming environment to better support these curious young learners. Learn more on the SJPL website.

The Need

Children rapidly develop physically, cognitively, and emotionally, with 90% of their brain development occurring before the age of five. A child who enters Kindergarten developmentally behind their peers may never have the opportunity to fully catch up. High-quality early learning experiences are essential for Kindergarten preparation. The City of San José has nearly 20,000 children age birth to five who do not have access to early education, leading to 75% of San José being designated as a “Child Care Desert” by the Santa Clara County Office of Education. It is essential that all children and their families have access to quality early learning experiences.

Our Impact

The Library Foundation is proud to support a variety of SJPL programs providing equitable early education opportunities to our community. In FY 2019-2020, the Library offered nearly 2,500 early education programs – online and offline – attended by 81,089 children and caregivers and serving 16,218 unduplicated children.

These programs include:

  • Wee Explore Outdoors – Bringing nature and exploration to the library, nurturing a child’s curiosity and growth in a safe environment as they play with water and sand tables, art areas, and more.
  • Wee Connect – A 6‐week series designed for grandparents, siblings, relatives, and friends who look after young children. Make new friends, share stories, and learn new ways to help children develop and grow!
  • Wee Grow – A collaboration with FIRST5 Santa Clara County that offers optional developmental screening questionnaires for children between 2 months and 5 years old after storytimes at select branch libraries.
  • Wee Play Stations – Currently located at 24 branch libraries — and soon to re-open at the Dr. Martin Luther King branch — provide access to learning-based toys and comfortable environments for children and caregivers to interact with one another. As children play independently, with their peers, and with their caregivers, they develop their physical, cognitive, and social-emotional skills.
  • Wee Share Stories – SJPL staff read some of their favorite children’s books out loud, and children and caregivers can listen and watch anytime online. Discover new stories – a great springboard into your home storytime. Visit the SJPL YouTube page to watch the latest storytimes: