Parents, children and reading
Parents of young children have a special relationship with libraries, and believe libraries are very important for their kids.
That’s the main conclusion of a recent national survey by the Pew Research Center as part of the center’s Internet & American Life Project. It interviewed 2,252 Americans age 16 and older on the role that libraries play in their lives and in their communities.
That news is not surprising to any of us at Boyd County Public Library. We see parents every day who bring their children to the library for story times, to borrow materials, to use computers or to attend programs. Those parents are a vital link between their children and unlimited resources and information available at BCPL.
Nationwide, the vast majority of parents of minor children (94 percent) feel libraries are important for their children, and 79 percent describe libraries as “very important,” according to the Pew Center report. They give three main reasons for why they feel that way: libraries help instill a love of reading and books in their children; libraries provide information and resources not available at home; and libraries are a safe place for children.
Lower income parents (households earning less than $50,000) are more likely to view library services as “very important,” particularly because of free access to computers and the internet; programs for kids; job and career resources; and free meeting space.
Not surprisingly, parents of young children are more likely than other adults to use libraries, the report showed. In fact, 73 percent of parents reported having a library card, compared to 59 percent of other adults.
Parents’ ties to libraries are all the more interesting because parents are more likely than other adults to have computers, internet access, smartphones and tablet computers – tools that might make them less reliant on libraries because they have access to information and media through other convenient platforms.
When it comes to gender, mothers – more than fathers – report feeling more attached to their libraries, and say they are eager to see libraries expand and add new technology-related services. They are more likely than fathers to have a library card, and to have visited the library in the past 12 months. Mothers are also more likely than fathers to read to their children every day (55 percent v. 45 percent), according to the study.
We don’t care which parent does the reading, or brings the child to the library – just as long as it’s happening.