The goal of my research this semester was to somehow bring together teens, libraries, and the arts with a proposal of how the principles of Library 2.0 could play a part in that.
Multiple studies have found the same evidence time and time again – an education in the arts undoubtedly increases the learning capacity and literacy of students. Every library’s mission statement includes some level of dedication to improving literacy and encouraging the pursuit of lifelong learning. I found several non profit arts for literacy type groups working toward community partnerships with schools, but I was hoping to find a great number of libraries involved with these efforts or creating their own. I didn’t find what I was hoping for, and I’d like to see that change.
Libraries are now faced with a great challenge when it comes to bringing young adults in. Teens often don’t think of libraries as that ‘third space’ that they’re looking for. So, how can the arts help with this? Studies show that the arts help create that ‘third space’ type atmosphere that often alludes schools and libraries.
Take a look at Imaginon in North Carolina and you’ll get an idea of what is possible if we really want it. Granted they had the money to do a lot, but even small libraries can create similar environments with programming and community partnerships.
What can you do to help?
Here are a few links to organizations online with information about the arts and literacy.