Magazine article American Libraries

Report: Library Funding Lags, Services Reduced

Magazine article American Libraries

Report: Library Funding Lags, Services Reduced

Article excerpt

The value of libraries in communities across the country continued to grow in 2008--and has accelerated as the national economy sank and people looked for cost-effective resources, according to ALA's annual State of America's Libraries report, released April 13 as part of National Library Week, April 12-18.

U.S. libraries experienced an increase in library card registration, with more than 68% of Americans now having cards. Library usage has also soared, with library visits totaling nearly 1.4 billion and more than 2 billion items checked out in the pastyear--an increase of more than 10% in both checked out items and library visiting, compared with data from the last economic downtown in 2001.

However, public funding did not keep pace with use, according to the survey, with 41% of states reporting a decline in public library state funding for fiscal year 2009; 20% of these states anticipate an additional reduction in the current fiscal year. While reductions have been seen from coast to coast, the southeastern section of the country has been the hardest hit, with declines as large as 30% in South Carolina and 23. …

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