Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen
Betsy Diamant-Cohen, creator of Mother Goose on the Loose, holds a BA from Brandeis University, an MLS from Rutgers University, and a DCD (Doctorate of Communications Design) from the University of Baltimore.
In the early 1980s, Betsy presented programs for parents and young children at public libraries in New Jersey. After moving to Israel in 1986, Betsy worked at a library for children's picture book illustration in the Israel Museum’s Ruth Young Wing in Jerusalem. She presented weekly preschool storytimes in English there and in other locations around Jerusalem. She also ran book-based programs for young children and parents.
In the late 1980s, Betsy and her young son attended a series of “Your Baby Needs Music” classes run by Barbara Cass-Beggs. Betsy studied with Barbara afterward and become a certified instructor. Due to Barbara's influence, Betsy restructured her already popular library programs to create Mother Goose on the Loose for parents with babies from birth to age three using Barbara's LISTEN, LIKE, LEARN approach. She added this to her weekly Youth Wing programs.
Upon moving back to the United States in 1998, Betsy introduced Mother Goose on the Loose to the Enoch Pratt Free Library System and Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. It's popularity grew around the state; in 2004, Betsy was selected by Library Journal as a "re-inventor" and chosen as one of the “Movers and Shakers: people who are shaping the future of libraries” largely due to the success of Mother Goose on the Loose. Based on that, Neal Shuman publishing company invited her to write a book on Mother Goose on the Loose and requests for trainings came flooding in from around the country.
Personal stories from librarians and parents convinced Betsy that something unique happened during Mother Goose on the Loose programs; communities formed, parents were empowered, and children were developing social, emotional, and literacy skills at a rapid pace. Librarians wrote fan letters about Mother Goose on the Loose and the requests for workshops grew. In order to share Mother Goose on the Loose with as many people as possible, Betsy left full-time work with the library and formed her own company, Mother Goose on the Loose, LLC.
Since then, both Betsy and the Mother Goose on the Loose program have received numerous awards. Betsy has been an active contributor to the world of children's librarianship, co-authoring a "Research Roundup" column in Children and Libraries magazine, writing books and presenting trainings on numerous topics. Her most popular workshops are Planning and Presenting High-Quality Early Literacy Programs using the MGOL Method, Play You Way to Literacy and STEM, and Storytime 101.
Betsy has also successfully brought Mother Goose on the Loose to non-library settings, working with childcare providers and agencies, healthcare professionals, and educators.
During the COVID outbreak, Betsy encouraged librarians to present MGOL sessions online. Although some libraries have removed the links to their "at home" programs, a number of them can still be viewed. Once librarians were allowed to return although their library buildings were still closed to the public, the virtual sessions from home became virtual sessions from the library. Since all in-person workshops were cancelled, Betsy began offering webinars. Her most popular webinars are Programming for Parents with Infants: What, Why, and How? and Flannel Board Fun.
In addition, Betsy has developed:
- MGOL Goslings, a program for parents of NICU babies, developed in conjunction with Dr. Brenda Hussey-Gardner and Port Discovery Children's Museum
- MGOL Hatchlings, a program for pregnant parents and for parents with newborns in partnership with the Maryland State Library
- An Early Literacy Toolkit and trainings for Ready to Read Michigan (with contributions by Cathy Lancaster)
- 1,000 early literacy tips for Rosswell Public Library's School Readiness Website (New Mexico)
- An Early Literacy Kit for home health visitors for Baltimore's Family Literacy Coalition (B'more for Healthy Babies: B'more Together)
- An online course, "Using Library Programs to Build Executive Function Skills" with Niche Academy.
- An adapted Early Literacy Toolkit and trainings for Ready to Read New Hampshire