ULC Member Survey Highlights Library Outreach to Low-Income K-3rd Grade Children

October 26th, 2016

In August, the ULC distributed a survey to member libraries to gather information about library programs that are specifically aimed at improving the reading proficiency of low-income, K-3rd grade students. The survey is part of the field scan for a project focusing on how libraries can better reach struggling low-income young students and provide programs to improve their reading skills.

  • A large majority of responding libraries (82 percent) have one or more programs specifically aimed at improving the reading proficiency of low-income K-3rd grade students.  Collectively, those programs serve more than 400,000 students annually, and nearly 80 percent are connected to state education standards, grade-level school achievement, and/or community-wide education programs.
  • Collaboration with school districts, individual schools, and teachers is vital in identifying and engaging students who need assistance and designing programs to meet their needs. More than 86 percent of responding libraries identified coordination with schools and school districts as a primary outreach method, and 64 percent said they work with individual schools to identify students who need assistance and/or design programs.
  • Lack of transportation from low-income neighborhoods to the library and not enough library staff time for outreach are the greatest barriers to reaching and engaging low-income K-3rd grade students.
  • Libraries that don’t have programs specifically for low-income K-3rd grade students said coordination with school districts and research and professional development on literacy education would help them better reach and engage struggling low-income students.
  • Nearly half of the responding libraries rely on parent surveys and exit interviews with student participants to assess reading progress.

A total of 92 member libraries completed the survey for an outstanding response rate of 67 percent. Thank you to all ULC members that completed the survey and contributed to this project!