It’s summer and if you and your children — those digital kids you are raising — are not regular library users, you should be. Almost any teacher will tell you that children who regularly use libraries develop better and more sustained reading habits. More significantly, I’ve observed that my 21st Century students with public library habits are often more critical and thoughtful users of digital materials, whether they use those digital materials at home, school, or even away from adult supervision.
No matter where you are located this summer, a library is probably nearby. Moreover, in addition to great books, many public libraries provide excellent tutorials on searching, evaluating resources, and digital commonsense. Be sure to visit.
Whether they are considering digital or non-digital opportunities, these families are more likely to rate library services as important than parents in families with higher incomes.
Some interesting research findings, quoted from the report:
94% of parents say libraries are important for their children and 79% describe libraries as “very important.” That is especially true of parents of young children (those under 6), some 84% of whom describe libraries as very important.
84% of these parents who say libraries are important say a major reason they want their children to have access to libraries is that libraries help inculcate their children’s love of reading and books.
81% say a major reason libraries are important is that libraries provide their children with information and resources not available at home.
Libraries have always been amazing places, but today, look no further than a college, university, or public library to observe an institution that has figured out how to support access to information and 21st Century learning. Libraries are especially adept at encouraging patrons to collaborate.
I am sitting in the James Branch Cabell Library at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. Officially I am here to search through the archives on the fourth floor, learning more about Virginia’s Massive Resistance era, but now it’s lunchtime and I am taking a break, walking around, and exploring a bit.
Libraries are very different from the time when I went to college or even a 10 years ago when I took my last graduate course. Today every library that I visit is collaborative — welcoming interaction among patrons, connecting information from everywhere, and inviting people inside, even first time visitors like me.
If we are not willing to collaborate today, we are not learning especially well.