Aug 14, 2019

Public libraries help students fend off summer learning loss

New York Public Library

New York Public Library. Photo: Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Low-income black and Hispanic students are more susceptible to losing ground academically during summer breaks, and libraries help to lessen the pitfalls from the hiatus from reading and writing, Chalkbeat reports.

The big picture: President Trump has proposed to defund federal money toward public libraries. While that hasn't come to pass, public libraries are still at the mercy of potential cuts in city budgets, putting youth programs at risk.

Zooming in: Millions of dollars of cuts for New York City's 3 library branches —Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Public Library and New York Public Library — had been imminent under Mayor Bill de Blasio, which would have required some libraries to close on weekends.

  • After public outcry, de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson agreed in June to provide city libraries with $33 million in additional funding, a historic high.

By the numbers: In 2018, nearly 1 million children and teens attended summer activities through New York City public libraries. More are estimated this summer with over 42,000 programs and events, Chalkbeat writes.

  • But, but, but: It all comes down to access, especially among students of color. Lack of access to transportation during the summer hinders attendance when working parents are unable to accompany their children to programs.
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