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Latino immigrants most appreciative of their local public libraries

LatinaLista — With more than 17,000 public libraries and bookmobiles nationwide, serving 96% of the U.S. population, there’s opportunity for most people to visit a library or have access to books and library services. However, a new Pew study found that Latinos, who have used libraries, are the least informed when it comes to knowing exactly what other services libraries offer.

The Pew study, Public Libraries and Hispanics, found that when it comes to using libraries U.S.-born Latinos visit their local libraries at about the same rate as whites and blacks (Latinos: 83%; Whites: 83%; Blacks: 80%). It’s Latino immigrants for whom libraries are still a place where language holds them back from enjoying the full on-site services.

According to the study, about 60 percent of Latino immigrants visit their local library. Once they do discover that the library is not only a place to find reading materials, it isn’t long before they realize that libraries offer a safe space to learn new skills, learn English and learn how to use technology.

The study also reveals that while libraries provide an opportunity for foreign-born Latinos to learn how to use technology, outside of the library it’s technology that keeps them from accessing library services from home.

… 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.

Yet, while Latino immigrants are the least likely population to visit a library, 85 percent of those who do express greater appreciation for libraries than U.S. Latinos (60%); blacks (71%); and whites (43%).

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