With the internet becoming the major source for research and entertainment, are libraries even relevant any more?
Definitely yes, for a number of reasons.
For young children, libraries are essential for developing a love of reading. With so many schools grimly focused on testing and improved test-scores, reading-for-fun has too often been taken out of the school day as an inefficient use of time. But as Dr. Krashen has demonstrated in his excellent book “The Power of Reading”, kids become skilled readers when they learn to love reading, that is when they read-for-fun. The secret of reading-for-fun is having a peaceful place to read, and having access to an array of fun books to choose from. This happens to be a perfect description of a library!
In fact, studies back this up:
“Elley found the availability of books is a key factor in reading achievement. He studied the reading achievement of children in 32 countries and found that factors which consistently differentiated high-scoring and low-scoring countries were large school libraries, large classroom libraries, regular book borrowing, frequent silent reading in class, and frequent story reading aloud by teachers. The highest scoring countries typically provide their students with greater access to books in the home, in nearby community libraries and book stores, and in the school.”
“Krashen found a significant positive correlation between each (U.S.) state’s 1992 fourth-grade reading comprehension scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) and the number of books per students in school libraries (p.<01) as well as library use (p<.01), regardless of how much money the state spent on education per pupil. The findings suggest that for money spent on education to effect reading scores it needs to be invested in library books.”