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  • Susan Stoderl

Beyond the Books Blog | Public Library Access Fosters Adult and Child Literacy


library showing books and seating
Beyond the Books Blog

Access to public libraries is crucial in supporting adult and child literacy. Public libraries provide books, magazines, and digital media to anyone needing help with developing and improving reading and writing skills. Particularly in states with a large immigrant population, such as California, New York, Florida, and Texas, they are places where adults and children can come for ESL help.


Libraries may offer story times for children to help with early language development. It also helps adults with their literacy skills. As community hubs, libraries provide a space where people can come together to learn and share knowledge. This is helpful for both children and adults.


As public libraries are usually members of the American Library Association, they advocate for equal access to library resources and services for minors. With many schools taking away access to books by banning and censorship, unrestricted access to library resources is vital for literacy development.


Financially poorer people often lack access to electronic equipment, which is essential in today’s technological world. They need access to computers and the internet. The library also provides a quiet space to learn, as well as provide traditional materials.


 In the US, the average ratio of people to a single public library is 18,733. Five of the lowest-rated states have double or triple that ratio. Florida ranks 48th for adult literacy and has one public library for every 68,723 people. Nevada ranks 44th for adult literacy and has one library per 35,374 people. Texas ranks 46th with one library for every 32,470 people. California has one public library for every 32,449 people and ranks last in adult literacy. Arizona, with one library for 31,578 people, ranks 33rd for adult literacy.


Do you think there is a connection between low adult literacy and access to public libraries?



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