Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Highlights the Role of Libraries in Summer Learning at Juneteenth Event

A boy and girl sitting on the floor while holding booksPhoto by RDNE Stock project on Pexels.com

AMBLER, PA — On Friday, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Dr. Khalid N. Mumin joined children and their families at the Wissahickon Valley Public Library’s Ambler branch for a special Juneteenth storytime. The event underscored the importance of libraries as essential educational resources, especially during the summer months.

Libraries as Learning Hubs

“Libraries are vital hubs for Pennsylvanians,” Secretary Mumin stated. He emphasized that libraries provide free educational opportunities and activities, helping to keep kids’ minds active when school is not in session. Events like the Juneteenth Story Time allow children to learn from community members and apply new knowledge through hands-on activities.

Celebrating Juneteenth

The Juneteenth event featured stories and crafts that educated children about the significance of June 19, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. This annual celebration has become an opportunity for communities to reflect on history and promote cultural understanding.

Significant Usage and Impact

According to the 2022 PA Public Library Data Survey, libraries across Pennsylvania received more than 21.8 million visitors last year. During these visits, over 42.7 million physical books were checked out, nearly half of which were children’s books. Libraries also provided 6,537 computers for public use, recording over 5 million sessions throughout the year.

Educational Programs and Engagement

Libraries play a crucial role in providing programs and services to learners of all ages, particularly when school is out. In 2022, libraries held over 91,000 programs for children aged birth to 11, attracting more than 1.8 million attendees. Additionally, they hosted over 14,000 programs for young adults aged 12 to 18, with more than 143,000 participants.

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Libraries as Learning Hubs for All Ages

Libraries offer more than just books; they serve as community centers where individuals can access information, technology, and educational programs. For children and teenagers, these resources are invaluable in preventing summer learning loss—a phenomenon where students lose academic skills over the break. By engaging in library programs, kids can continue to develop their reading and critical thinking skills, better preparing them for the upcoming school year.

The Transformative Power of Libraries: Education, Community, and Inclusion

The role of libraries extends beyond education. They provide a safe space for community engagement and lifelong learning. In an era where digital literacy is increasingly important, libraries also offer access to technology and the internet, bridging the digital divide for many families.

Dr. Mumin’s visit to the Juneteenth event highlights the multifaceted impact of libraries. They not only support academic achievement but also foster a sense of community and cultural awareness. As libraries adapt to meet the needs of modern society, their role in promoting equity and inclusion becomes even more significant.

In summary, the Juneteenth story time at the Ambler branch of the Wissahickon Valley Public Library showcased how libraries are integral to both education and community building. By providing diverse programs and resources, libraries help ensure that all Pennsylvanians have the opportunity to learn and grow, regardless of the season.

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