Slow economy fuels surge in library visits

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With the nation facing tough economic times, Americans are visiting their local public libraries more often and checking out items with greater frequency. Libraries across the United States report that more people are turning to libraries in record numbers to take advantage of the free resources available there.

According to the ALA’s 2008 State of America’s Libraries Report, Americans visited their libraries nearly 1.3 billion times and checked out more than 2 billion items in the past year, an increase of more than 10 percent in both checked out items and library visits, compared to data from the last economic downturn in 2001.

ALA President Jim Rettig said, “During tough economic times, people turn to libraries for their incredible array of free resources, from computers to books, DVDs and CDs, for help with a job hunt or health information. The average annual cost to the taxpayer for access to this wide range of resources is about $31, the cost of one hardcover book. In good times or bad, libraries are a great value!”

The value of libraries has achieved wide recognition, including this clip from the CBS Evening News.

 

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