You might be surprised to know school libraries win — by a long shot.
Libraries play an integral role in student education. Even as an educator, you might be surprised to hear just how often libraries are used. The American Library Association (ALA) has collected a breadth of data on this topic and the results are bookishly good.
In 2014, students made 1.3 billion visits to school libraries during the school year. This is equal to the attendance at movie theaters and four times the total visitors to our national parks! But that’s not all, here are a few more surprising facts about America’s libraries:
- Americans go to school, public, and academic libraries three times more than the movies.
- There are more public libraries than Starbucks in the United States — almost all offer free Wi-Fi and no-fee access computers.
- In 2013, more people attended library programs than MLB and NBA games combined.
- Reference librarians answer nearly 6.6 million questions weekly. Standing single file, these questioners would extend from Miami, Florida to Juneau, Alaska.
- Research suggests that the highest achieving students attend schools with well-staffed and well-funded libraries.
Clearly, libraries play a vital role in learning and education. Unfortunately, libraries don’t always see the funding that reflects their importantance. As educators, it’s important for us to advocate for library funding and support our librarians. This advocacy is sure to benefit our students and communities.
Want to raise your voice about libraries in Arizona? You can do it through the 2017 TELL Arizona Survey — a survey about school improvement in Arizona. Here, you can share your perspective on a variety of topics, including facilities, and resources like libraries.