Background: Few studies have examined associations of public library use and shared book reading to kindergarten children’s academic skills. Methods: The study sample consisted of 13,385 kindergarten students enrolled in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010–2011 (ECLS-K: 2011). Parents reported on public library use in the past month (yes/no) and frequency of shared book reading in the past week. Cross-sectional linear regression analyses examined associations of kindergarten children’s academic skills with public library use and shared book reading. Interactions between poverty with shared book reading and public library use on academics were assessed. Results: 59.6% of children visited a public library and 86.5% engaged in shared book reading at least three times a week. Public library use and shared book reading differed by socio-demographics. Higher academic scores were positively associated with public library use and shared book reading. A significant interaction between poverty and public library use was not identified. Shared book reading was associated with higher academic scores for all children, especially for children from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. Conclusion: Public library use and shared book reading were independent predictors of kindergarten children’s academic skills. Disparities in public library use, shared book reading and academics were identified.
- Public library
- children's academic development
- shared book reading