Kindergarten–Middle School 6–12

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Talking Points for
Public Libraries

8. Well-trained library staff help students learn how to perform age-appropriate Internet searches using the public library’s free public access workstations, and other library learning tools and services, such as live online tutoring and Web-based resources for homework help.

Quick Stats Supporting This Talking Point

Delaware, 2005: 98.2% of students were helped in their learning process by the school library when they had access to a full-time librarian, information literacy instruction, flexible scheduling and networked ICT.(Barrett 2010)

Programming and outreach for children and young adults is an important part of public library services. In 2006, there were over 102,000 library programs geared towards young adults with a total attendance of 2.1 million students. Under school outreach efforts, 70% of libraries reported that classes visited the library and 73% reported that the library visited classes. Libraries also reported strong partnerships with other organizations to serve youth: 66% with youth organizations, 54% with recreational organizations, 52% with cultural organizations, and 38% with health or mental health organizations. In 2006, 77% of libraries reported they had a children’s or young adult page on their website. | (Public Library Association and Public Library Data Service 2007)

Libraries are uniquely positioned to respond to the achievement gap, because they draw families from across the socioeconomic spectrum. Libraries are second only to religious-sponsored events as the destinations of choice for family outings regardless of parents’ economic and education levels. | (Vaden-Kiernan and McManus 2005; Sonenberg 2005; McClure and Bertot 1998)

Libraries provide portals for children to perform age-appropriate Internet searches. More than 68% of libraries reported offering homework resources in 2006–2007—serving the educational needs of more than 36 million school-age children—up 7.3% from the previous year. Almost 68% of library staff reported that providing educational resources and databases for K–12 students was most critical to the role of the public library branch in their community. | (ALA and Florida State University 2007; Davis et al 2008)

Households with children under 18 are regular and prominent users of the public library. In 2001, 65.6% of households with children under 18 used public libraries. Nationwide, more households with children under 18 used a library in the past month for a school assignment (22%) than to participate in programs for children under 13 (10%) or for teenagers, ages 13 to 18 (3%). Among households with children under 18, a larger percentage of Black and Asian households (25% and 26% respectively) used a public library in the last month for a school assignment than did white or Hispanic households (22% and 20% respectively). Forty-one percent of households with children under 18 used a public library or bookmobile in the past month to borrow materials. This is compared to 28% of households with any members ages 18 to 64, and 19% of households with any members aged 65 or older. | (Glander, Dam and Chute 2007)