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Friday, 20th December 2013

How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities

Source: Pew internet & American Life Project
From Summary of Findings:

Americans strongly value the role of public libraries in their communities, both for providing access to materials and resources and for promoting literacy and improving the overall quality of life. Most Americans say they have only had positive experiences at public libraries, and value a range of library resources and services.

Some 90% of Americans ages 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an impact on their community, with 63% saying it would have a “major” impact. Asked about the personal impact of a public library closing, two-thirds (67%) of Americans said it would affect them and their families, including 29% who said it would have a major impact....

Libraries are also particularly valued by those who are unemployed, retired, or searching for a job, as well as those living with a disability and internet users who lack home internet access:

56% of internet users without home access say public libraries’ basic technological resources (such as computers, internet, and printers) are “very important” to them and their family, compared with 33% of all respondents.

49% of unemployed and retired respondents say they librarian assistance in finding information to be “very important,” compared with 41% of employed respondents.

47% of job seekers say help finding or applying for a job is “very important” to them and their families.

40% of those living with a disability say help applying for government services is “very important,” compared with 27% of those without a disability.

+ Direct link to document (PDF; 983 KB)


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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

More articles by Adrian Janes »



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