December 9, 2018

Public Libraries: New York Library Association Releases Siena Research Institute Findings

From the New York Library Association:

A Siena College Research Institute poll conducted between January 30th – February 12th of this year confirms that public libraries are leading the charge in bridging the equity gap, as New Yorkers increasingly rely on the education and technology services provided by libraries.

New York State Education Law requires a minimum level of state funding necessary to ensure every New Yorker, in every community, has access to quality library services. The minimum funding for FY2018-19 is $102.6 million, though NYS has failed to meet this minimum funding threshold each year since 2007. Chronic underfunding of library services continues to ignore the needs of New Yorkers – particularly those needs of economically vulnerable citizens and historically disadvantaged communities.

As New Yorkers increasingly identify their local public libraries as crucial providers of childhood literacy programs and career enhancement services, for the third consecutive year polling data also found libraries serve as indispensable points of internet access: for 30% of respondents, or nearly five million New Yorkers, including 20% of women, 20% of Latinos, 30% of households making less than $50,000 annually, their local public library serves as their primary point of internet access.

The Siena poll findings include:

• 60% of New Yorkers have recently utilized the resources of their local public library, with 75% of those respondents indicating they use the library at least once a month, and 25% indicating they visit at least once a week;

• 75% of respondents indicate their local library plays an important role in helping people find trustworthy information, including nearly 85% of Latino respondents;

• 47% of African-American, and 30% of Latino respondents, as well as 30% of those without a college education have recently used the library for career building and job seeking;

• 89% say their local library contributes an important role in creating educational opportunities for people of all ages;

• 48% of respondents indicate that they have pursued personal learning activities through the offerings of their local library, compared to 51% indicating those activities took place in high schools or colleges, and 38% indicating museums or community centers;

• New Yorkers value library services in all settings: 97% say it is important that elementary school students have access to a school library staffed by a certified school librarian, 96% say it is important in the secondary school setting, and 91% in the college setting.

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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