According to a new Pew Internet & American Life Project poll, 94 percent of parents with children under the age of 18 consider libraries to be important to the intellectual growth of their children.
The poll, conducted last November and published in early May, involved more than 2,000 subjects, of whom about a quarter were parents.
Almost four-out-of-five respondents with children stated that libraries were “very important,” a percentage that jumped to 84 percent for parents with children younger than 6-years-old.
An equal percentage of parents stated that they considered libraries important because they help “inculcate their children’s love of reading and books.” Seven-out-of-10 parents additionally stated that libraries were important because they offer a safe environment for their children to stay.
Respondents with children reported much lower levels of actual library activity, with just 70 percent of parents stating that their child had visited a public library over the last year. Only 55 percent of respondents said their children had library cards of their own.
Pew researchers also noted that parents with lower-incomes were much likelier than wealthier parents to consider libraries important. They found that more parents in households with incomes lower than $50,000 a year thought library programs for children and access to research resources were important than parents living in households that made more than $50,000 annually.
Additionally, the poll revealed that mothers are much likelier to be engaged in library activities than fathers, with females with children reporting higher overall library visits than their male counterparts.
Among parents that reported library visitations, about 21 percent of mothers reported weekly library visits, while just 10 percent of fathers stated they made appearances that frequently at their local libraries.