Magazine article Information Today

Americans Value Public Libraries

Magazine article Information Today

Americans Value Public Libraries

Article excerpt

Shrinking budgets and advancing technology may be ever-present threats to libraries, but the good news is Americans still appreciate their local institutions. Per the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project report, "How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities," Americans aged 16 and older feel the closure of their public libraries would have an impact on their communities (90%) and their families (67%).

The top two services Americans would miss most without their public library, access to books and media and having a quiet, safe place to spend time, were ranked "very important" by 54% and 51%, respectively, of respondents. Other services that were listed as very important include research resources (47%), programs for youth (45%), and librarian assistance (44%). Despite increasing interest in technology, access to the internet, computers, and printers was ranked very important by only 33% of respondents.

While many Americans can identify their closest library (91%), they don't always know what it offers. Only 23% of respondents are aware of all or most of the services available at the library, while 47% say they are familiar with some of what is offered. …

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