I don’t have to tell you that public libraries are important resources. Not only do they provide books, videos, newspapers and magazines to their communities, they also often serve as community, activity, and research centers. But libraries also provide an extremely important educational tool that a relatively large number of students do not have access to: WiFi.
My colleague, Emily, and I recently wrote an op-ed piece for School Library Journal about this very issue. From our 40 million EasyBib users, we’re able to look what sources students use in research and when students are doing most of their research. It’s probably not too surprising that they are generally doing their research between 8 pm and 10 pm, when most public libraries, particularly those in rural areas, are closed.
When students don’t have public libraries as an option, many students are utilizing WiFi at local fast food restaurants if they don’t have access at home. Not only are students hanging out near calorie-laden soda machines, they also don’t have the benefit of their library’s resources, including their librarians.
As public libraries allocate resources, which we understand is a very difficult task, we ask that they consider those students who may need after-school access in a safe, clean, and low-calorie environment where they can get the help they need to complete their homework and their research projects.
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