Supportive - Transport them to and from the library, encourage them to attend programs, "talk up" the programs, model the importance of libraries by using the library, make sure the child has a library card - and uses it, and actively seek out programs at the library.
Role Models - Parents play a very important role in school age programming in the sense of bringing their children to programs but most importantly, emphasizing to their children that the library is an important place in any community. By having parents establishing that the library and all it has to offer is important, children will associate libraries as a welcoming, focal point in their community.
Advocates -I am happy with a parent who sees his role as one of vocalizing the importance of the library to the community, of getting to it as regularly as he can, of always being VOCALLY supportive, even when he can't be GEOGRAPHICALLY supportive.
Partners - I love having parental participation. Because I am on my own with everything that I do, I long for others to share and enjoy activities with the kids. I have had some great parents over the years. Some of them make better leaders than I do! I often have had to solicit help from parents if we are going to leave the building in the course of our program. I am only one person!
More than means of transportation - They are (at our library) the transportation for the kiddos for the most part. A program needs to be "worthwhile" in their eyes to come to (we have a very rural community so for many people it has to be worth the time and gas for them to come into the library). But most importantly, I try to talk to parents when they are in the library with their kids. I know lots of the families that are regulars so it is nice to chat with them and remind them of programs, but also introduce myself to new faces and let them know what we have going on.
BUSY!!!! - being aware of the many pressures on parents who may be working and transporting their kids helps us focus on what we want to do for programs. More DIY and stealth programs let us serve kids without narrowing times we like to see kids in the library with an active program that has a specific time and day.
Graphic courtesy of Pixabay