The latest report from the the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, “Parents, Children, Libraries, and Reading” outlines their findings on the usage and views of libraries by parents with children under age 18. Some of the highlights of the report:
- 94% of parents say libraries are important for their children; 84% of parents of children under age 6 indicate that libraries are very important.
- 97% of parents express the opinion that it is important for libraries to offer programs and classes for children and teens.
- 30% of parents say their library usage has increased in the past 5 years because of their children’s involvement at the library.
- Parents of children 17 and younger are 14% more likely than other adults to have a library card, and 15% more likely than other adults to have visited a library in the past year.
- Mothers are 10% more likely than fathers to read to their children every day (55% vs. 45%), and 10% more likely than fathers to report that their children have visited the library in the past year (74% vs. 64%).
These findings highlight the importance of cultivating active, vibrant children’s programming in public libraries, not just to benefit the children of the community, but also to raise interest in the library among the parents of young children. The report indicates that parents of young children are more likely than other adults to utilize the entire spectrum of library services, from browsing shelves and checking out items, to utilizing the library’s website and technology resources. Parents are also more likely to support new and expanded library services, such as library services for mobile devices, e-books, and digital media labs.
Parents represent a group of ready-made library supporters on which we can rely to help promote existing library services, and to help build support for new and expanded library services. Because libraries have a great tradition and reputation of providing quality services to children, we’ve also gained a great group of library supporters in parents. This report further emphasizes the importance of focusing promotion of all library services to parents, and of looking to parents to help advocate for your library to help build and cultivate support in your community.
View or download the full report at http://libraries.pewinternet.org/2013/05/01/parents-children-libraries-and-reading/.