Libraries continue role as transformative institutions

The American Library Association just released the 2014 State of America’s Libraries report.  As libraries continue to transform to meet society’s changing needs, 90% of the respondents in an independent national survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project said that libraries are important to the community, and 76% said that libraries are important to them and their families.

Some of the key findings of the national were detailed at the 2014 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits in Philadelphia in January. These included:

  • Ninety-six percent of those surveyed agreed that public libraries are important because they promote literacy and a love of reading. The same number agreed because libraries provide tech resources and access to materials, and a majority view libraries as leaders in technology.
  • While the overall number of visitors to a physical library or bookmobile dropped five percentage points from 2012 to 2013, from 53% to 48%, there was an equally significant increase in the number of users of library websites. Particular increases were noted among African Americans, Hispanics, those age 16 to 29, and those with some college education.
  • More than 75% of the survey’s respondents want libraries to play an active role in public life. Seventy-seven percent want libraries to coordinate more closely with local schools in providing resources to children, and the same proportion want free early literacy programs for children. People look to libraries to help fix struggling schools and to help children learn to navigate new technologies and become critical thinkers.

An earlier Pew study, released in May 2013, showed that most parents highly value one resource for their children: libraries.

Some libraries, like the Rochester Hills Public Library even target readers… before they are readers. The Library is a member of a national organization Family Place Libraries which promotes a model for transforming U.S. public libraries into “welcoming, developmentally appropriate early learning environments for very young children, their parents and caregivers,” said library director Christine Lind Hage.  “Family Place Libraries help transform parents into first teachers, and the program addresses the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive aspects of child development to help build a foundation for learning during the critical first years of life.”

“We collaborate with local service providers and early childhood educators to enhance the community environment for families with very young children and to reach new and/or underserved audiences,” said Jaclyn Miller, Manager of Youth Services. “Thus, community agencies, educators, and family services providers also benefit from having a strong community partner able to reinforce or enhance their missions, share resources, and develop cooperative services.”

The Rochester Hills Public Library is located in downtown Rochester off of University Drive and three blocks east of Main Street. The Library is open from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from 1 – 6 p.m. on Sundays during the school year. The Library’s website (www.rhpl.org) has information on how to register for a card and access all the Library’s services.

About Sarah Hovis

Word manipulator, arts appreciator, sports spectator, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at [email protected].

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