July 15, 2010

Public Libraries Make a Difference

Do you use your public library? I do. My public library is a couple of miles from my home. I go there on a weekly basis. It seems that more and more of us are going to the library to find jobs, create new careers and help grow our small businesses. We borrow books, journals, music and movies. We learn to use the latest technology. We get our questions answered, engage in civic activities, and improve our skills.

There are over 16,600 public libraries in America. Here are some of the unique 2010 statistics about public libraries:
  • Career Assistance - 13,000 libraries offer career counseling resources, resume assistance and help in filling out online applications. There are only 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers in the country.
  • Getting Technical - More libraries (5,400) offer technology training classes than there are computer training businesses (4,000) in the United States. Every day, 14,700 people attend free library computer classes.
  • Hot Spots - Most public libraries provide free wireless Internet access for their users. Nearly 12,000 now offer free Wi-Fi. That's more than Starbucks, Barnes & Noble or Borders.
  • It's in Our Wallets - Almost two-thirds of Americans have a library card. For many young people, its the first card in their wallet is a library card.
  • Let's Meet - More public libraries offer free meeting rooms than there are conference centers, convention facilities and auditoriums combined. Every day, 225,000 people use library meeting rooms at a retail value of $11 million. That's $3.2 billion annually (based on 286 business days per week).
  • Movie Night - Every day, Americans borrow 2.1 million DVDs from libraries. This compares to 2.2 million DVDs rented from Neflix or 1.1 million DVDs rented from RedBox vending machines.
  • Taking Care of Business - Business owners and employees use resources at the public libraries at least 2.8 million times per month.
I came across this information from the folks at OCLC while I was in their world headquarters building as a guest speaker. I knew about the movies because I check-out one or two movies from the library every week. I often find my good reads at the library ... less expensive than buying the books from Borders!

I have great memories of the library as a kid. I remember walking to Pio Pico Library to participate in the summer reading contests. We would get ribbons and certificates for reading 100 books each summer!

Do you use your library very much?


msladyDeborah said...

The Metro is considered to be my second home by family and friends.

My hometown library is the best in the nation. Seriously. The Columbus Public Library won an award this year. We have the best library in the nation. Which we already knew.

I live within walking distance from the main branch. There are three community branches that are about fifteen minutes away from my home.

I started going to the library when I was 4 years old. It was one of my weekly outings. I loved the place the first time I stepped through the door.

Our system is a real asset to the community. We can borrow books, CDs, DVDs, take classes, use computers and attend programs and sales.

When the politicians were cutting the budget, the community stood up for our system. Thousands of e-mails were sent in support of the system. The hours of operation have been cut. The opening time is one hour later and the closing time is one hour earlier. But our system is a seven day operation.

Unknown said...

Lady D - We had a similiar situation with the library budget in our town. There was a ballot issue earlier this year in which funds were voted to upgrade the budget.

There are times that I take my laptop there to work in anonymity ... no phone calls, no distractions.

I'll be there tomorrow for my weekly sojourn...