Education & Digital Literacy: How We Started

Before developing our Education and Digital Literacy (EDL) Strategy, we needed to set our foundation with the following:


The Education and Digital Literacy Strategy will ensure that we are focused and accountable in our mission to serve you, our San José community. We will make sure that every member of the community has access to a vast array of ideas and information.

At its core, the San José Public Library is a classroom outside of a traditional classroom. We are driven to ensure that all residents of San José are fully engaged students with equitable access to a community of learning.

SJPL believes that people of all ages and backgrounds should have the agency and empowerment to learn about new ideas, skills and possibilities — and the City of San José believes it too! Through the citywide Educational & Digital Literacy Strategy, led by SJPL, we are recreating our entire city as a classroom. We are building a place where our residents can learn, explore, connect, and grow!


Through this strategy, we will prioritize our efforts on the following:

  • Education Policy: An Education Policy for the City of San José, ensuring we—as City leaders—are held accountable for our efforts
  • STEAM Programming: Quality STEAM-based programs for youth through our branches and Maker[Space]Ship
  • Early Education: Early Education support for families with our youngest learners
  • Expanded Learning: Improved programming for students after school and during summer, which helps them continue the learning that happened during the school year
  • College & Career Readiness: College and career readiness for the next generation of Silicon Valley’s workers and innovators
  • Digital Literacy: Digital literacy for all ages, so that San José residents can feel connected and empowered in our ever more digital world.


Staff approached the work of the Education and Digital Literacy Strategy by focusing on the following values:

  • Equity of access to quality educational experiences for all children of San José is essential and must be cultivated by actively removing barriers.
  • Opportunity to experience a wide variety of educational options should be extended to all learners, connecting students to skill-based learning, mentors, and potential career pathways.
  • Quality of program offerings must be illustrated by establishing standards for student learning and assessing program efficacy.
  • Accountability to our youth and their families is the primary consideration when assessing any programmatic outcome or resource investment in learning and education.


SJPL also knows that collaboration is critical for the success of our community. Through our Education & Digital Literacy work, we have partnered with many other City departments, organizations, and institutions. These partners are also working hard to provide quality opportunities for learning and discovery to our City. Examples of partners include:

  • Department of Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services & work2future
  • School Districts
  • Santa Clara Office of Education
  • First 5 Santa Clara County
  • Collective educational organizations such as the California Department of Education Region 5

Program Stats & Outcomes

The City—primarily through the Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services and Library Departments—provides several programs designed to meet the needs of children ages 0-5 and their caregivers.

SJPL's Early Education Services

The Library's Impact

San José Public Library's Early Education Services offers more than 4,500 free programs and activities targeted at children 0-5 years of age and their caregivers at twenty-five (25) library locations throughout San José, with a total attendance of more than 167,000 in program participation, each year.

Note: Numbers in these charts are from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. Data will be updated annually.

Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services

PRNS's Impact

On an annual basis, Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Services (PRNS) serves more than 1,500 children ages 3-5 through programs such as the San José Recreation Preschool, The Hatchery at Emma Prusch Park, Camp San José Junior, and vendor-led sports and performing arts activities.


  • SJRP allocated and distributed $342,353 in scholarships with 75% of the cost covered by City of San José funds and 25% covered by American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds.
  • The remaining 77 students received tuition scholarships which covered at least 25% of their program cost.
  • Conducted pre/post assessment of participating children and noticed an increase in the following categories, upper-case recognition, lower-case recognition, letter sounds recognition, name writing ability.
  • Conducted Early Education Quality Standards assessments.
  • Developed and adopted policies, practices, and protocols through a racial equity lens to increase access to early education and recreation programs to diverse families. and meet the social-emotional, cognitive, physical, and developmental needs of children.

Note: Numbers in these charts are from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. Data will be updated annually.

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