ALA “ El Dia de Los Libros” Connects Community, Culture, & Literacy
Hispanics Highly Esteem Their Local Library
On April 30, El Dia de los Ninos, the libraries nationwide will be celebrating its annual El Dia de los Libros, an American Library Association initiative to emphasize literacy for all linguistic and cultural backgrounds. This initiative reemphasizes the importance of family and culture in the community a value that ranks high among Hispanic families. It is no wonder that recent studies show Latinos highly esteem their local libraries; higher in more aspects than white or black counterparts.
The Pew’s recent study on Public Libraries and Hispanics identifies how Hispanics, both immigrant and US born, perceive and use libraries in comparison with their white and black counterparts. Most notable about the article is how immigrant Hispanics are less likely to see the library as easy but those who have used the library are most appreciative of library their services and safe and quite environment it provides.
Coincidentally, a new report from the American Library Association released during National Library Week, April 12-18, indicates the perception of the local library and its role has changed in the eyes of the American population. In it the report states that libraries are now viewed as “anchors, centers for academic life and research and cherished places.”Hispanics agree with this sentiment. According to the Pew Hispanics have high regard for public libraries in their perception of Libraries. Greater than 70 percent strongly agree libraries:
- Promote literacy and love of reading (80 percent)
- Give everyone a chance to succeed (75 percent)
- Improve quality of life in the community (71 percent)
The Pew further found that Hispanic immigrant library users rate library services highest than US Born Hispanics, Whites, and Blacks as
- Having a quiet safe place 85%
- Research resources 82%
- Free books & media 83%
- Programs for youth 77%
- Librarian assistance 76%
- Help in applying for job 68% among others
These perceptions help highlight the need for continued support of the local libraries under threat of decreasing funds or closure. According the ALA, 17% of states which provide state funding for public libraries reported decreased funding for 2014 and 46% of Chief Officers of State Library Agencies were unsure whether their states would decrease or increase funding.
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