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Services and Resources for Children and Young Adults in Public Libraries
NCES: 95357
September 1995

Barriers to Young Adult Use of the Library

Two groups of impediments to young adult use of the library were addressed by the survey. The first relates to reasons that librarians perceive that some young adults in the community do not use the library and the second focuses on internal issues within the library that may inhibit the library's ability to increase services and resources for young adults.

Reasons Young Adults Don't Use the Library

Competition from other activities leads a list of reasons librarians attribute to low library usage rates by some young adults in their communities; librarians in 74 percent of libraries indicate they believe this is a frequent or primary reason (Table 19).

Lack of interest on the part of young people and lack of knowledge about library services were considered frequent or primary reasons that young adults do not use the library in 38 and 31 percent of libraries, respectively. Lack of transportation, although reported in only 13 percent of libraries as a frequent or primary reason, was seen as sometimes a reason by another 37 percent (Table 20).

Librarians were less likely to consider lack of school assignments and neighborhood safety as frequent or primary reasons for lack of library use. Lack of school assignments was reported as a frequent or primary reason in only 8 percent of libraries (note, however, that another 24 percent indicated it was sometimes a reason (tables 19 and 20). And while neighborhood safety was considered a frequent or primary reason in only 4 percent of libraries nationally, in 11 percent of libraries librarians indicated that safety was a frequent or primary reason that some young adults did not use the library in urban areas (Table 19).

Internal Barriers

According to librarians, the two major barriers to increasing services and resources for young adults in public libraries are insufficient library staff and insufficient services, resources and programs. Fifty-eight percent of librarians reported insufficient library staff, and 61 percent indicated that insufficient services. resources, and programs were moderate or major barriers to increasing services and resources for young adults (Table 21).

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