In difficult economic times, libraries become even more popular with the general public

In difficult economic times, libraries become even more popular with the general public

Books fly off shelves as library use soars

The Santa Barbara Independent Libraries Busy in Faltering Economy

The Public Library Renaissance

Judge orders libraries to stay open

Andrew Carnegie and Carnegie Libraries

Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust Wiki

In economically challenging times, many people choose to omit certain luxuries, including pedicures, new (or used) cars, and other items. Retailers are also now reporting that consumers are also buying fewer books, CD’s, and DVD’s. Are people just not listening to music, turning on the television, or reading? That’s definitely not the case, as the nations’ libraries are reporting record numbers in terms of new library card applications and the sheer circulation numbers of their various holdings. A column in the Boston Globe reported that the checkouts of such items are up 15 percent in Modesto, 17 percent at the Newark Public Library, and that the Boise Public Library also reported a 61 percent increase in new library cards. Many people also rely on public libraries to perform job searches online, hold community meetings and forums, and as a place to spend a few hours away from inclement weather. Despite the recent uptick in public library use, there are a few ominous signs on the horizon. Many cities have been forced to cut library operating hours due to severe budget shortfalls, and Michael Nutter, the mayor of Philadelphia, even proposed closing 11 branches of the city’s public library system. A recent ruling by a judge kept those branches open, but many of the challenges remain in Philadelphia and in hundreds of public library systems across the United States. [KMG]

The first link will take users to an article from this Thursday’s Bend (OR) Bulletin that talks a bit about the increased library use at the Bend Public Library. The next link leads to a like-minded piece from the Santa Barbara Independent, which discusses the importance of their local libraries within their community. The third link whisks users away to a recent post from the “Freakonomics” weblog at the New York Times. The post talks a bit about the previously mentioned Boston Globe article and also offers link to other relevant sites on libraries. Moving on, the fourth link leads to a piece from this Tuesday’s Philadelphia Inquirer about the recent ruling that requires Philadelphia to keep all of its libraries open. Those persons with an interest in the history of public libraries in the United States will enjoy the fifth link, as it contains information about the famed Carnegie libraries, paid for via the fortune of industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Finally, the last link leads to a site created by noted Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl. Here visitors can create their own book wiki, trade information on favorite books with other bibliophiles, and so on. [KMG]

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2009.

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