New Publication Highlights Positive Impact of Public Libraries on Students and Lifelong Learners

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A new publication entitled Public Libraries Informational Brief: Impact of Public Libraries on Students and Lifelong Learners demonstrates the importance of public libraries for all New Yorkers: “Public libraries serve as cornerstones for communities across New York State for accessing information and technology, developing digital literacy skills, and providing numerous support services to students, families, and communities. For generations, public libraries have offered critical services to address the needs of all learners.”

Prepared by the New York Comprehensive Center (NYCC) in consultation with the New York State Education Department and the New York State Library, this document joins their previous work, Informational Brief: Impact of School Libraries on Student Achievement, in a series that reveals the unique impact of each type of library on student achievement and lifelong learning.

This informational brief on public libraries analyzes and summarizes current research and reports about the impact of public libraries on learning in New York State and beyond. The Executive Summary notes that “this brief presents research-based evidence, programmatic examples and offerings, and impact studies to demonstrate the critical role public libraries play throughout the statewide educational system.” The scope of individuals positively affected by public libraries is clarified by highlighting several influential research projects in a single document, and the crucial impact of public libraries becomes evident.

As with the previous brief on school libraries, this document is aligned with the New York State Board of Regents Reform Agenda. This publication focuses on the positive effects public libraries have on people of all ages, beginning with early childhood learning and family literacy opportunities. The brief goes on to discuss the impact of public libraries on achievement for all students, particularly when it comes to digital literacy, summer reading opportunities and supporting underrepresented populations, including English Language Learners, socioeconomically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities.  Finally, the brief considers the impact of public libraries on lifelong learners in terms of opportunities for job seekers, entrepreneurs, immigrants and more. To read the full brief, visit: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/nyla/nycc_public_library_brief.pdf