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

Services and Resources for Adults Who Live or Work with Children

Hi raises also provide many important services for children indirectly--by providing services and resources for parents, caretaker, teachers, and other adults who live or work with children.

Group Programs for Adults

A small number of libraries offer programs in the library for groups of adults. Adult group program offerings include literacy-building activities using children's literature (14 percent), parenting education (14 percent), and intergenerational literacy activities (13 percent) (Figure 11). Among those, the number of programs per year was between one and two (table lo).

Services Available for Adults Who Live or Work with Children

Fifty-six percent of libraries maintain a file or provide information or referrals regarding children's services in the community (table 11). Libraries in larger urban (73 percent) and suburban (68 percent ) areas were more likely to provide community service information than those in rural areas (42 percent). Differences were also found by patronage and the presence of a children's or youth specialist. Thirty-seven percent of libraries serving fewer than 200 patrons per week served as a clearinghouse for community service information, while 56 percent of those serving 200-999 patrons per week and 77 percent of those with 1,000 or more patrons per week were involved in this activity. Sixty-seven percent of libraries with a children's or youth services specialist provided information on community services for children, while only 44 percent of those without a specialist kept or distributed this information.

Libraries provided a variety of other children's resources and services for adults who live and work with children (Figure 12). Most provide reference assistance (96 percent), drug, alcohol, and sex information (96 percent), and inter-library loans (95 percent) for adults who live and work with children.

Parents, child care providers, teachers, and other professionals who work with children can also depend upon large numbers of public libraries to provide the following children's resources for adults who live or work with children:

  • Multicultural materials (86 percent)
  • Reading lists (83 percent)
  • Video recordings (81 percent)
  • Audio recordings (79 percent)
  • Readers' advisory (74 percent)
  • Foreign language material (71 percent)
  • Parent/teacher resource collection (58 percent)
  • Group programs (58 percent)

Only about one-fourth to one-half of libraries offer the following children's resources or materials for adults.

  • Computer information services (48 percent)
  • Deposit collections (34 percent)
  • Personal computers (29 percent)
  • Toy use/toy lending (25 percent)
  • Computer software (23 percent)

Usage versus Availability of Services and Resources

As with children, some large disparities are found between availability and usage of services and resources provided for adults who live and work with children (Figure 12), particularly for computer technology services. For example, while computer information services were available in only 48 percent of libraries, 71 percent of libraries with these services report moderate to heavy use by adults who live or work with children. Similarly, computers for personal use and computer software were available in only 29 and 23 percent of libraries, respectively, yet their usage is reported as moderate to high for computers in M percent of libraries and for software in 63 percent of times.

Toy use or toy lending services and deposit collections were two other areas showing discrepancies in availability and usage. While deposit collections are available in only 34 percent of public libraries, 66 percent of those providing this service report moderate to heavy use. Toy use and toy lending, available in only 25 percent of libraries also show moderate to heavy use where available--67 percent of libraries that provide toy lending services report moderate to heavy use.