Not Your Childhood Library: 5 Things Today’s Libraries Offer Young People
Libraries only increase in relevancy and continually support young children in the US.
While libraries have always been vital aspects of the community, there’s no doubt that times have changed. For young people living in the United States, the time to utilize their public library is better than ever. Between librarians being explicitly hired for young adults and free resources expanding far beyond books, libraries are becoming more relevant than ever. Here are five resources provided to young people by today’s libraries.
The Library’s Impact on Young People
Libraries are essential for young people’s development. Children will use literacy skills their whole lives, and libraries significantly nurture these needs. Aside from reading, libraries give young people access to vital resources they may not have at home. For example, children without access to a computer or wifi can visit their local library for assistance.
Many libraries’ positive impacts on young people come down to their presentation. Plenty of facilities include centers for young people, and some libraries are solely devoted to children’s literature. These allow librarians to accommodate young people and their reading skills. Even so, libraries also foster a sense of independence when young people are allowed to select their preferred reading titles.
Libraries also leave an impact on young people with the teaching of miscellaneous life skills. When children have the task of borrowing and returning literature, it teaches them responsibility. At the same time, they may learn that actions have consequences, such as paying a fee for a missing library book. This teaches them accountability and respect for other people’s items.
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How Libraries Support Children
Libraries are essential community centers for a reason. They foster a love of reading by supporting and assisting young people throughout their development. Libraries can be highly convenient and relieving for children living through financial insecurity. They usually provide basic office supplies that are necessary for homework, along with free entertainment.
Many libraries aim to support young people throughout their school careers by including free tutoring services, research databases, and study rooms. For preschoolers or young children, librarians frequently host storytimes for parents to develop reading literacy immediately. Of course, children with an avid love for reading can check out piles of books for free!
Libraries are also excellent for young people’s social engagement outside of school. Librarians usually host a variety of age-appropriate events for young people. This could include book clubs or volunteer opportunities for high schoolers. Libraries may also initiate community events that invite entire families to get involved. Here’s more detailed information about library resources for young people.
1. Age-Specific Activities and Spaces
Libraries curate their space to welcome young people of all ages, including adolescents. This can include sections of the facility that are solely devoted to young children. These areas may consist of toys, comfy seating, and, of course, age-appropriate literature. Some libraries even provide resources for infants and toddlers.
Meanwhile, teens and young adults will outgrow these areas while wanting to read materials that match their reading development. Thankfully, more libraries are adding teen-only sections and hiring young adult librarians to focus on selecting literature for older children. These resources make sure libraries are continually relevant and serve all young people.
2. Homework Help
Free tutoring services are among the most valuable resources young people can use at a library. More libraries also advance community needs and technology by providing virtual homework help sessions. According to a nationwide survey, around 95 percent of public libraries in the US provide these services.
In addition to tutoring, most libraries provide free access to research databases typically blocked by paywalls. For children completing homework projects, these tools are vital. School assistance services expand far beyond homework and research. Librarians also teach young people computer literacy or help children enhance their reading skills.
3. Free Library Materials
When it comes to materials libraries can provide to young people, the options are only increasing. The average US public library will always offer free computer access, office supplies, and research items. However, certain facilities provide all that to young people and more, depending on where you go!
For example, children aren’t restricted to books if they want more entertainment. Libraries allow young people to check out movies, video games, and board games. Children living through financial insecurity can utilize free streaming services like Hoopla or Kanopy with their library card. Even resources like 3D printers, graphing calculators, and bikes can be accessed at specific library locations.
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4. After-School Programs
Some young people may want to use their library as a chance to take a break from school. Thankfully, librarians plan many after-school programs focusing on entertainment, community, and relaxation. This can be especially beneficial for older children and adolescents who may appreciate after-school activities like book clubs.
During the summer, specific libraries may provide meal assistance for children who receive free or reduced lunch at school. There may also be programs that expand beyond reading and literacy. Some libraries host creative and drama classes for young people. They may even get the chance to attend free fitness classes after school!
5. Books and Librarians
Of course, the most common resource libraries provide for young people is reading materials. Parents commonly get worried about what their children check out from their local library, but it’s essential to trust librarians. This is especially true for school librarians who earn a degree in understanding young people’s literature.
Librarians maintain children’s spaces in library facilities and plan after-school programs to orient them to age-appropriate literature purposely. Plus, they specifically select and display books that fit their age ranges and reading levels. Librarians will always be parent’s number one resource if they have questions about young people’s events, resources, or books.
Despite a global pandemic, technological advancements, and expanding online reading resources, libraries remain essential for young people. If you’d like to continue supporting US public libraries and librarians, visit EveryLibrary.org for more information.
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