Released: February 6, 2014
Who Says Libraries Are Going Extinct?
It would be easy to dismiss the ALA as a biased party, but its numbers were confirmed by a study from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, released in December. It reported that 94 percent of 6,200 people surveyed said that a public library in their community improves quality of life. And this is more than just an amorphous endorsement of knowledge and communalism: of those who use their library, 81 percent said that they “provide many services people would have a hard time finding elsewhere.” A full 81 percent said that access to books and other media is somewhat or very important to them—compared to 58 percent of library users who said access to Internet and computer equipment is important.
The assistance of librarians was also cited as important to 76 percent of library users surveyed by Pew. About the same number said that the space of the library itself—as a quiet and safe place—was meaningful to them. All but six percent agreed that “public libraries are a welcoming, friendly place,” and a staggering 91 percent said they personally have never had a negative experience using a public library, either in person or online. Many people—including myself—have personal stories about libraries as deeply meaningful parts of our lives.