Libraries are not just about what they have for people, but what they do for and with people. Academic, school and public libraries continue to transform and shift resources and services to meet the needs of tech-savvy patrons. This and other library trends of the past year are detailed in the ALA’s 2016 State of America’s Libraries report, released today in recognition of National Library Week, April 10 – 16, 2016.
The report shows that libraries of all types add value in five key areas – education, employment, entrepreneurship, empowerment and engagement. Local and national studies cited within the report show that libraries are advancing multiple literacies and fostering a digitally inclusive society.
Administrators are looking to school librarians to help them digitize education and lead blended learning activities in schools, thus bringing equity, connectivity and personalization to instruction.
Libraries continue to strive to support digital equality. Multiple studies increasingly point to the fact that individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds do not have equal access to high-speed Internet, digital tools, or opportunities to learn how to use digital resources. As a result, they are less able to compete for 21st century careers, participate fully in civic engagement or even advance their own personal learning and interests..
Other 2016 State of America’s Libraries report findings include:
- Libraries strengthened their role as leaders in community engagement, leading community forums, taking part in anti-violence activities and providing a safe, neutral place for an often divided populace to come together.
- Services and spaces for teen patrons are transforming as libraries look for opportunities to help teens design their own learning experiences. New service spaces include dedicated makerspaces, tinkerlabs and other reconfigurations of the library’s space.
The full text of the 2016 State of America’s Libraries report is available at http://bit.ly/americas-libraries.