Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pew Research Center :: Public Libraries and Hispanics

Public Libraries and Hispanics
Immigrant Hispanics Use Libraries Less, but Those Who Do Appreciate Them the Most
Pew Research Center: 3.17.2015 by Anna Brown and Mark Hugo Lopez

When it comes to public libraries, immigrant Hispanics pose both a challenge and an opportunity to the library community. On the one hand, this group, which makes up half of the adult U.S. Hispanic population, is less likely than other Americans to have ever visited a U.S. public library and is much less likely to say that they see it as “very easy” to do so. At the same time, Hispanic immigrants who have made their way to a public library stand out as the most appreciative of what libraries have to offer, from free books to research resources to the fact that libraries tend to offer a quiet, safe space. And they are more likely than other groups to say that closing their community library would have a major impact on their family. These are some of the findings of this latest installment of the Pew Research Center’s reporting on the Center’s landmark 2013 Library Services Survey.

Seven-in-ten (72%) Latinos ages 16 and older say they have visited a public library or bookmobile in person at one point or another in their lives, the survey shows, a share below that of whites (83%) and blacks (80%). But this finding masks a large difference among Latinos. Fully 83% of U.S.-born Latinos say they have visited a public library at some point in their lives—a share similar to that of whites and blacks. However, among immigrant Latinos, a smaller share—60%—say they have visited a public library or bookmobile in person.

Some public library services can also be accessed remotely through library websites. Here, too, though, the survey finds a gap in use between U.S.-born Latinos (49%), blacks (48%) and whites (45%) who say they have accessed a public library website and immigrant Latinos (27%) who say the same.

This gap in use between foreign-born Hispanics and U.S.-born Hispanics, whites and blacks may reflect foreign-born Hispanics’ views of the relative ease of using public libraries. According to the survey, just one-third of immigrant Hispanics say they would find it “very easy” to visit a public library in person if they wanted to do so. By comparison, 60% of U.S.-born Hispanics, 67% of whites and 59% of blacks say it would be very easy to visit a public library in person.  READ MORE !

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