A report released on May 1 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that the vast majority of parents with children under 18 feel libraries are very important. In fact, 94% of the parents surveyed felt that libraries are important for children and 79% describe them as “very important.”
Nearly every parent in the report (97%) said that it is important for libraries to offer programs and classes for children and teens.
“The ties between parents and libraries start with the importance parents attach to the role of reading in their children’s lives. Half of parents of children under age 12 (50%) read to their child every day and an additional 26% do so a few times a week. Those with children under age 6 are especially keen on daily reading with their child: 58% of these parents read with their child every day and another 26% read multiple times a week with their children.”
This study also demonstrated a link between parental use of the library and their perception of the importance of libraries for their children. The study showed that 30% of parent say their use of the library has increased in the past five years.
The theory that parents see the value of the public library isn’t surprising to those who work in libraries. Every day, parents and caregivers bring their little learners in to the library to attend story time, socialize with other children, and explore the stacks. Our librarians interact with these families, helping parents find just the right book for their kids, guiding them on the value of rhyme, music, finger plays and reading out loud.
The Pew report is part of a broader effort by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project that is exploring the role libraries play in people’s lives and in their communities. The research is underwritten by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.