When libraries serve as makeshift summer camps
| Jul 07, 2010
In Chicago neighborhoods like Austin and Englewood and suburban communities such as Chicago Heights and Zion, Illinois, many libraries serve as makeshift summer camps. They're a place where parents with limited means leave their kids for part of the day, and where children escape the streets.
"Librarians … they are the hidden stars of our communities," said Susan Neuman, professor of educational studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She is writing a book on public libraries and education. "Librarians act as substitute mother teachers. They have taken it upon themselves to fill this role. They are doing it and doing it well, even if it is not something they wanted to do."
The phenomenon is not new, but in this economy, Neuman said a larger number of parents will rely on the library this summer in place of camp for their kids. The increase is expected even as some libraries struggle with reduced hours and fewer staff, she said. Read more in The Chicago Tribune online.