ERIC Number: ED331512
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
The Library and the Latchkey. ERIC Digest.
It has been observed that one historical role of the public library is serving the nation's youth. Current economic and social conditions have created the phenomenon of the "latchkey child"--the school-aged child who has no parent or guardian at home after school hours and has no alternative care arrangement. In light of this, this digest examines the public library's responsibility toward latchkey children, surveys library reactions to unattended children in the libraries, and discusses the importance of library policies that will address this problem. It is noted that while some libraries observe the increasing number of unattended children as an opportunity to improve youth services, others find themselves facing philosophic, economic, and legal dilemmas associated with these latchkey children. It is argued that, as each library comes to understand its role in its unique community there will be a clear focus on where it stands relevant to social dilemmas, and that library professionals must be part of a network of policymakers investigating solutions to problems such as latchkey children. In the meantime, the question of whether libraries should provide service to these children beyond standard user services will continue to be debated. (12 references) (MAB)
Descriptors: Child Welfare, Elementary Secondary Education, Latchkey Children, Librarian Attitudes, Library Planning, Library Policy, Library Role, Policy Formation, Public Libraries, User Needs (Information)
ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources, Syracuse University, 030 Huntington Hall, Syracuse, NY 13244-2340 (free while supply lasts with self-addressed stamped envelope).
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Media Staff; Policymakers; Practitioners
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information Resources, Syracuse, NY.
Identifiers: ERIC Digests