Children’s librarians will find the new Pew Report Parents, Children, Libraries, and Reading very reassuring. As we have long suspected, the children’s department brings families into the library, and while they’re there, the adults use the libraries for themselves as well as for their children. They come in the first place because they believe the library is good for their child (94% say libraries are important) and it ends up being good for them, too.
Book lovers like me will also find it reassuring that 87% of them came to borrow books! How quaint, and how wonderful. And it was great to see that 58% of them read daily to their children and another 26% read a few times a week. It’s not 100%, but in this age when families are so busy, and the triple threat of screens/sports/shopping taking up so much of the limited leisure time, 84% looks pretty good.
The report’s most touching statistics are the ones associated with low-income people. The thing they value the most highly is having librarians to help people, tied with having computers with Internet, both at 88%. People have been saying for ten years that books are dying and the tax haters see libraries as unnecessary. (Someone just asked last night if there is anything in our online databases that you couldn’t just get from Googling, clearly seeing the library as unnecessary in that process.) But low income people don’t have easy access to Googling anyway, and they obviously appreciate the help they get from librarians in finding the information and services they need.
Parents, Children, Libraries and Reading is, all-in-all, a love letter to libraries and librarians, and who doesn’t love getting those?