Shhh! Despite Boom, Libraries Facing Cutbacks

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by Heather Sells, CBN News Reporter
Originally aired the week of November 11, 2010 on the Christian Broadcasting Network

The Christian Broadcasting Network (http://www.cbn.com) recently aired a story that included interviews with ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels and Paula Kiely, Director of the Milwaukee Public Library.

The video focused on the increasing use of public libraries in the United States due to the recent trough economy, coupled with the decline in their finding. While libraries have embraced the online world by staying current with technology, most public libraries around the country are facing a loss in funding which means fewer librarians, fewer hours and in some cases the closing of libraries.

The city of Milwaukee, WI is spotlighted in the video, which in the recent census was cited as the 4th poorest city in the US. Last year their city's library budget had to be cut by 1.7 million, which resulted in the cutting of evening hours and being closed on Saturday.

The biggest impact is to book loves, information seeks and those who use the library as a lifeline.  Two-thirds of libraries national-wide help patrons with online job hunting, and 70% of libraries provide the only free access to computers and the internet in some communities.

There is a growing appreciation for and recognition of libraries being critical to the next generation. In a changing world, the library's mission remains the same, "reaching and teaching children to prepare them for tomorrow's challenges".

Libraries are here to help communities not only survive in a world where change is the new reality, but thrive in a 21st century world.

Watch the entire video at http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/vod/HSE223v1_WS.

 

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