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National Library Week Part Two State of the Library

Tulips in Bloom
Tulips in Bloom
Catherine Al-Meten

Between 1883 and 1929, 2509 public libraries were built thanks to businessman and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. Of those, 1,689 were erected in the U.S.. This week the American Library Association released its annual State of America’s Libraries’s report. Among its findings:

90% of those who responded to the Pew Charitable Trust poll stated that libraries were an important part of the community.
96% of Americans believe that public libraries are important because of the access to technology and the technical resources and materials.
96% of responders believe libraries are valuable because they promote literacy and a love of ready
90% of public schools have school libraries, however, public funding for those libraries is having a very negative impact on staffing, hours, and maintaining resources for those public schools.
Public schools continue to feel the crunch from federal, state, and local funding and support. “School libraries continue to feel the combined pressures of recession-driven financial tightening and federal neglect, according to the survey, and school libraries in some districts and some states still face elimination or de-professionalization of their programs.” (American Library Association

Other key trends in public libraries, according to the report, include:

  • “More and more public libraries are turning to the use of web technologies, including websites, online account access, blogs, rich site summary (RSS) feeds, catalog search boxes, sharing interfaces, Facebook, and Twitter";
  • "The economic downturn is continuing at most institutions of higher learning, and academic librarians are working to transform programs and services by repurposing space and redeploying staff in the digital resources environment";
  • "President Obama signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill in January that will fund the federal government through September and partially restore funding to the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA)—the primary source of annual funding for libraries in the federal budget—that were dramatically cut in the 2013 fiscal year under sequestration.”

One of the key ingredients for making libraries the havens for learning and exploration that they are is the quality and dedication the librarians. Today is National Library Worker Day, and a perfect time to show your support and appreciation for the librarians who insure you find what you need and help you make great discoveries. Visit the National Library Workers website and find how how you can support and show your appreciation to your local librarians.

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