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Public Libraries Provide a Safety Net for Our Neediest Children


by Donna Celano & Susan B. Neuman — August 11, 2010

The nation’s public libraries function as a safety net for children living in high poverty areas by granting them equal access to the same resources and knowledge that their more advantaged peers have. Children in low-income neighborhoods typically have access to fewer books and fewer computers than do children from middle-class neighborhoods. The result of unequal access to information is a steadily growing knowledge gap between low- and middle-income children. Tough economic times threaten to close many libraries, adding to the already insurmountable odds low-income children have in catching up with their wealthier peers.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: August 11, 2010
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 16104, Date Accessed: 10/22/2017 5:09:13 PM

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About the Author
  • Donna Celano
    La Salle University
    E-mail Author
    DONNA C. CELANO joined the Communication Department at La Salle University, Philadelphia, as Assistant Professor in Fall 2007. Before joining the Communication Department, Donna served as an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Communication Department at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. Prior to teaching, she was a Senior Research Associate in Temple University’s Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Technology, where she helped evaluate a number of programs exploring children’s use of books, computers, and other media. Her research interests focus on children and media, especially economically disadvantaged children’s access to computers and books. Her most recent publications, including articles in Phi Delta Kappan, Education Week, Educational Leadership, and Reading Research Quarterly have explored the digital divide and the differences in computer access for low- and middle- income children.
  • Susan B. Neuman
    University of Michigan
    SUSAN B. NEUMAN is a Professor in Educational Studies specializing in early literacy development. Previously, she has served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education. In her role as Assistant Secretary, she established the Early Reading First program, developed the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program and was responsible for all activities in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Act. She has directed the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA) and currently directs the Michigan Research Program on Ready to Learn. Her research and teaching interests include early childhood policy, curriculum, and early reading instruction, prek-grade 3 for children who live in poverty.
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