Local library is in demand
By Jeff Mosner PARK RAPIDS LIBRARY BOARD With over 17,000 libraries and 2.5 billion materials circulated annually in the United States alone, libraries are frequently used and highly valued by the public. Concerns about a general decline in libra...
By Jeff Mosner
PARK RAPIDS LIBRARY BOARD
With over 17,000 libraries and 2.5 billion materials circulated annually in the United States alone, libraries are frequently used and highly valued by the public. Concerns about a general decline in library usage have proven to be unfounded. While usage of some library services, such as reference assistance, has declined, there has been a well-documented increase in the usage of public libraries in the U.S. and Canada over the last decade.
According to the Public Library Report (2010), public libraries served 297.6 million people. With a total U.S. population of more than 308.7 million in that year, it’s easy to see how relevant these community institutions are. The report is particularly compelling in documenting the importance of libraries to the nation’s children: children’s materials comprise a full one-third of the 2.46 billion materials circulated and 61.7 percent of libraries’ 3.75 million public programs are designed for children.
And the relevance of libraries in our digital age is reinforced with the data. Since 2003 the number of e-books in the nation’s public libraries has tripled and in the last ten years the number of public access computers has doubled.
Have you noticed how busy our library is? Shown below are usage statistics for 2014, documenting our own public library in Park Rapids.
2014 Park Rapids Library average monthly usage “by the numbers”
n 184.3 – Number of hours your library is open.
n 7,170 – Number of patrons served
n 8,905 – Number of items checked out
n 38 – Number of community meetings held
n 445 – Number of meeting attendees
n 1,578 – Number of internet users
n 222 – Number of hours worked by volunteers
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.
According to a 2013 Pew Research Center Library Services survey:
n 95 percent of Americans ages 16 and older agree that the materials and resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed;
n 95 percent say that public libraries are important because they promote literacy and a love of reading;
n 94 percent say that having a public library improves the quality of life in a community;
n 81 percent say that public libraries provide many services people would have a hard time finding elsewhere.
The local usage numbers shown above indicate that our community values its library resources and services.