About the Library

Job Posting

Library as Laboratory: Early Learning for Vulnerable Communities

The Calgary Public Library is seeking an expert in early learning and childhood development to work as an independent contractor to advance its Early Learning Strategy (“Play Professor”).

Calgary Public Library

Today, the Calgary Public Library welcomes more than 7.6 million visitors annually through 21 community libraries and supports the lifelong learning needs of everyone who calls Calgary home. The New Central Library has become a cornerstone of Calgary’s East Village redevelopment, and Calgary Public Library plays a key role in community building for Calgary’s growing neighbourhoods. In 2019 the Calgary Public Library unveiled a new four-year strategic plan (which can be found at calgarylibrary.ca).

Potentials Realized is the unifying vision of this plan, which promotes the values of Inclusion, Curiosity, and Collaboration and strives to improve the quality of life for Library members. Each strategy contains three priorities that shape the Strategic Initiatives for each year of the plan.

Early Learning Strategy at the Calgary Public Library

Calgary Public Library has maintained a strong commitment to early learning throughout its 100-year history. With more than 80,000 kids under the age of five in Calgary, the demographics of our city demand a significant investment in high quality early learning.

Building on strong research, our holistic and evidence-based model for early childhood learning includes five pillars: 1) Spaces, 2) People, 3) Collections 4) Programs and 5) Services. Together, these five pillars support our goal of reaching all children during their formative years and
helping them thrive.

Through its Early Learning Strategy, the Library seeks to promote long-term physical and mental health, adaptive behaviour and relationships, social mobility, economic prosperity and overall wellbeing by providing evidence-based literacy and developmental services and programming to children during their formative years of birth to age five. Our Early Learning Strategy can be found at www.calgarylibrary.ca.

Play Professor - Library as Laboratory*

In collaboration with the Library, the Play Professor will apply their knowledge and expertise in the design of a community-tailored program and service delivery model for vulnerable, low income children from birth to age five that will be based on the latest evidence-supported play techniques, to be implemented at the Forest Lawn and Village Square libraries in northeast Calgary.

This package of services and could include strategic outreach, educational activities and dynamic workshops. The program & service delivery model will engage, inspire and equip parents, childminders, and early childhood educators with the skillsets required to continue robust early learning at home and/or at preschool.

The Play Professor will then design and implement an evaluation framework that will draw evidence and outcome-based conclusions on the effectiveness of the program and service delivery model in improving school-readiness for the participating children (collectively, the “Library as Laboratory Project”). This framework will also support the evaluation and enhancement of the Library’s Early Learning Strategy - synthesizing evidence and outcomes-based conclusions regarding all Library early learning programs and services.

The Play Professor's design and execution of Library as Laboratory's Evaluation Strategy will provide vital insights into the early learning barriers and challenges faced by young children and their families within vulnerable communities. The Library will provide resources and support to enable the Play Professor to publish their work in leading and relevant peer-reviewed journals.

We’re committed to providing support for publication opportunities within Library networks, at conferences, and at other professional organizations and will work with the candidate to determine the best publication strategy. At the conclusion of the project, it is the goal that the Calgary Public Library will be positioned to continue the program & service delivery model with aspirations to strengthen and grow the Library as Laboratory model.


Funding and Project Term

Funding for this project is generously provided by an anonymous donor and will cover related expenses.

The project term is projected for a 12-month term with a possible extension negotiable between the Library and the successful candidate in support of program deliverables.

If you think you could succeed in the role of Play Professor and help the Library to achieve the goals of the Library as Laboratory Project, please send a 1-2 page expression of interest and CV to Heather Robertson, Director, Service Design at heather.robertson@calgarylibrary.ca by February 23rd at 11:59 p.m. The Library may shortlist candidates for interviews after that time.