top of page

Teens & the Library

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

Did you Know?

  • Approximately 14 million middle and high school students are on their own after school.

  • 8 in 10 Americans want all children and teens to have some type of organized activity or a safe place to go after school.

  • American students make 1.3 billion visits to libraries in a given year, about the same as nationwide attendance at movie theaters.

  • Research shows that as an age group teens (ages 12 – 18) receive the least monetary support. Charities and government spending on teens lags behind what is invested in children (birth through 11 years) and young adults (19 and up)

Libraries Provide Key Services to Teens

Libraries have a strong track record of providing a variety of key services that meet the unique needs of teens. Make sure your teen has a library card.

Workforce Development

Preparing teens for the workforce is a major concern in the U.S. In the last three decades, the skills required for young adults to succeed in the workforce have changed drastically, but the skills emphasized in schools have not kept up with these changes. 87% of public libraries offer services and programs for teens, including career planning and computer skills. Additionally, libraries recruit teens to work as interns and staff, helping them build practical job skills, like Monett's Teen Ambassador Group.

Digital Literacy

In 2010, 50% of the nation’s 14 - 18-year-olds reported visiting a library to use a computer. Data suggests that while teens are comfortable with new technologies, they are not always as technically savvy as adults believe them to be. Librarians provide formal and point-of-need training to teens to help them use the Internet safely, effectively, and ethically.

Traditional Literacy

97% of public libraries provide a dedicated section of their library to teen books and other teen materials. Librarians are trained experts who can match the right book to the right teen, whether he or she is a struggling reader, an English language learner, or developmentally disabled.

Year-Round Learning

Better-funded library programs help to close the achievement gap for at-risk students. Additionally, a 2010 study from Dominican University (pdf) demonstrated that students who participated in a public library summer reading program scored higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year than those students who did not participate. During the school year, 66% of public libraries make visits to area schools and 37% share collections or online resources with schools. This type of collaboration helps teens continue learning and building critical skills beyond the typical school day.

(source 2012 Public Library Association PLDS Statistical Report)

To learn more about why literacy is important, check out this video featuring librarians talking about the importance of our teen literacy initiative, Teen Read Week. Contact your local BLRL branch library to find out how your teen can get involved.

Excerpts from sources: Afterschool Alliance’s “Afterschool Essentials: Research & Polling" (.pdf) & ALA's Quotable Facts


bottom of page