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APRIL 2019 An Indispensable Resource America’s Public Libraries T here are a lot of reports out there claiming that people still like libraries, but that might not actually be the case. Even though the number of Americans who had library cards had increased from 63 percent in 2006 to 68 percent in 2008, and 76 percent of Americans believe libraries do their job of serving their communities well, the number of people actually visiting libraries every year is falling. The percentage of adults who visited a library in the past 12 months dropped from 53 percent in 2012 to 44 percent in 2015. April 7–13 was National Library Week, and it was a great reminder to appreciate the myriad of services libraries make available to the public and consider why people are becoming disinterested in spite of this. As a high school student, and even as a college student, I never took the time to properly acknowledge everything libraries have to offer. I appreciate them a lot more now, and I want to encourage people to utilize the resources libraries provide.
to find your dream job. You can also use library computers to copy, print, and scan documents, and if you just need internet access, most libraries offer free Wi-Fi. Libraries also function as gathering places for the community. Many offer classes on finances, computer skills, and languages. If you’re feeling artistic, there are pottery classes and craft nights for all ages. If you’re looking for something less informative and more fun, there are movie nights, book clubs, and even bingo games offered at libraries, too. Even with all these resources open to the public and with all the good libraries do for their communities, they have received less and less funding over the past 10 years. This means that some of those resources may not remain available for public use. If you haven’t in a while, try to visit your local library and explore the opportunities it offers. You may find some worth fighting to keep. -Doug Barnes
“If you haven’t in a while, try to visit your local library and explore the opportunities it offers.”
There’s a lot more than just books at libraries these days. In addition to borrowing books, movies, video games, and audiobooks, some libraries have household appliances like irons, sewing machines, and cooking appliances available to use. You could also potentially borrow laptops, telescopes, and GoPro cameras. For kids, there are craft supplies, puzzles, dolls, and other toys available to borrow. While libraries lend much more than just books, they also provide a number of services, and their staff can help visitors with all sorts of different tasks. If you need help researching a topic, librarians are expert researchers and available to help. If you’re looking for the next step in your career, librarians can point you to the best resources
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