The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), recently turned the spotlight on two surveys that illustrate progress in staffing and use of library services for young adults.
The Public Library Association’s (PLA) 2007 Public Library Data Service (PLDS) Statistical Report tracked young adult service trends in public libraries. The report found that nearly 90 percent of the surveyed public libraries offer young adult programs, with more than half (51.9 percent) employing at least one full-time equivalent dedicated to fostering young adult programs and services, up from 11 percent in 1995.
An American Library Association poll conducted by Harris Interactive found that a significant number of responding youths between the ages of 8 and 18 used both their public library and their school library media center for personal use.
The poll found that 31 percent visit the public library more than 10 times a year and nearly 70 percent use their school library more than once a month. Of those who regularly use their libraries, more than three-quarters (78 percent) indicated they borrow books and other materials for personal use from public libraries and 60 percent said they sought out materials for personal use from the school library.
The Harris poll also found that nearly one-third of the surveyed youth would use both public (32 percent) and school libraries (33 percent) more if they offered more interesting materials to borrow. One-quarter of the respondents said they would visit their school library more if its computers didn’t block information they needed (one-fifth cited this for public libraries).
Other suggestions to draw more youth into libraries included: offering more activities and events (32 percent public, 22 percent schools), staying open for longer hours (31 percent public, 21 percent schools) and creating a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere (22 percent public, 21 percent schools).
The Public Library Association’s PLDS Statistical Report can be ordered in a print version for a cost of $120 at www.pla.org/ala/pla/plapubs/pldsstatreport/pldsstatistical.cfm. A five-page summary of data from the Harris Interactive poll is available for download as a PDF file at no charge at www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/HarrisYouthPoll.pdf.