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April 14-20 is National Library Week. It's a time to promote a love of reading in your family, talk to your lawmakers about supporting library services, and visit your local library to see how else they support child and adolescent development beyond books. Incidentally, April 16 is National Library Day, and all of April is also School Library Month. Is that enough reasons to make sure your library card isn't expired? Here is some research, news, and resources relating to libraries and child health.

  • The American Library Association is the head organization that advocates for library services all over the United States. For those working with children, the Association of Library Service to Children is well worth looking at, and those who specialize in adolescent medicine or otherwise work with teens would do well to get to know the Young Adult Library Services Association, both divisions of the ALA.
  • Want to know exactly what libraries do for children, teens, and families? Take a look at Add It Up.
  • The Mediatrician has answered many parent questions about reading levels, e-readers, and more. Take a look.
  • This 2010 case study looked at how bibliotherapy was an effective treatment for a hospitalized 2-year-old. And remember, stories don't just have to be read – this study found that audiobooks are a great way to help children with dyslexia.
  • Want to get a little meta with media? Here's  a look at 16 favorite movie moments of real and imagined libraries.
  • Remember, "library" doesn't just mean "Carnegie building with novels." There are special libraries, legal libraries, cultural archives, and, of course, medical libraries. For a look at the best of the best (when you're looking beyond the media focus of our own library, that is), check out the National Library of Medicine and the Public Library of Science. Remember, when looking for resources, the local public library you think of as a beautiful old building with tons of stacks likely also offers you free access to expensive resources where you can keep abreast of all of the latest research in any field.
  • This 2008 study looked at the reading behaviors of 15-year-olds and found that gender plays a role.
  • If you are interested in knowing the newest data and information about young Americans and their reading and library habits, definitely bookmark the Pew Internet Libraries page.
  • Above all, public libraries are civic institutions that promote community and self-edification. And that doesn't mean having to set foot in them physically. Most libraries today have strong online presences, from websites to Pinterest accounts to Twitter accounts, offering expanded services, up-to-the-minute news on new collections, closures, and special events, and more. Why is that important for children and teens? Consider that teens who use media in civic ways (reading the news, signing petitions, etc) are also more likely to be involved in their communities (says a 2010 study), and teens who are exposed to news media are more likely to be civically engaged (from a 2009 study).

How are you observing National Library Week? Let us know!

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