All children deserve to experience both the joy of reading and the skills in life that literacy brings. Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy is passionately committed to strengthening children’s literacy through library services and community advocacy.



In January 2008, staff from more than a dozen Colorado public libraries and the Colorado State Library joined together and began working to develop a comprehensive approach to delivering and supporting early literacy services statewide. Fiscal agency support has been provided by CLiC (Colorado Library Consortium) since 2011.


Our Organization

Membership in CLEL is open to anyone involved with children, libraries, or early childhood education who supports our mission statement. Our activities are directed by a Steering Committee appointed from the general membership. The Steering Committee oversees six standing sub-committees:

  • Advocacy

  • Training

  • Communications

  • Annual Meeting

  • Grants & Fundraising

  • Membership


CLEL members may serve on any of the standing committees. Please feel free to view

our bylaws and meeting minutes

The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy (CLEL) collaborates with organizations around the world to provide Early Literacy information and resources for librarians, children, and their caregivers. These collaborations are based solely on the benefit provided to children and the thoughts and opinions of these organizations do not necessarily reflect those of CLEL.




  • Educate and train library staff in providing early literacy storytimes for children and caregivers.

  • Increase awareness of the importance of early literacy to all communities.

  • Cooperate with other state and national agencies involved with early literacy.

  • Promote the role of libraries in providing early literacy experiences.




In the fall of 2009, CLEL was awarded a Library Services and Technology (LSTA) grant to create videos and a website to share rhymes, songs, and early literacy tips with parents, caregivers, and librarians. The result is StoryBlocks.org! New videos continue to be added to the site as funding allows.


Training and Presentations

CLEL members are frequent trainers for Colorado State Library Youth Services workshops, and regularly provide workshops and presentations at library and early childhood conferences.

Please go to our Training page for more information.


Early Childhood Librarianship Fellowship

Two members of our Steering Committee served as advisors to a generous Institute of Museum and Library Services grant awarded to the University of Denver's Library and Information Sciences program. The purpose of the grant was to develop learning service projects and curriculum for a fellowship of graduate students who will serve as Early Childhood Librarians!


CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards

CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards is an annual recognition of five high-quality picture books that provide excellent support of early literacy development in young children.


Storytime Underground

CLEL is the Colorado chapter of Storytime Underground as of October 2016. Our members host events state-wide throughout the year, including Guerrilla Storytimes. Please email clelorg@gmail.com if you'd like to host your own for CLEL, and here is a list of questions for you to use!


Our Donors

Many libraries around the state support CLEL monetarily to promote and champion our goals.