Not a day goes by, it seems, without an article in the newspaper about library usage being up during these bad economic times. Usually accompanied by a picture of library patrons surrounded by books or sitting at a computer terminal - looking for jobs on the internet (as per caption.) For any reporters looking for a scoop, there it is: Americans use libraries. A lot. Especially these days. Interview any librarian and they will tell you, business is booming.
Librarians like to be recognized as much as the next professional, maybe more, being the self-effacing introverts that we are. And anyone with a sense of the ironic will appreciate that while library usage goes up in bad times, library funding goes down resulting in closed branches, fewer hours open, smaller budgets for materials and so on. We are also noticing that using your local library is now included in those endless articles about how to live a more frugal life. Libraries have become a kind of Heloise Hint or bullet point in budgeting articles. Skip the video store, use the library! that sort of thing.
Regular library users have always known about the benefits of using the library and for those of you who, because of reduced circumstances, have been frogmarched to the library doors, Welcome! We wish we had met under better circumstances, but welcome.We hope you don't leave when boom times return. More than that, we hope that boom times return soon for everyone, not just for libraries.
Here are links to the latest news articles about libraries:
New York Times
Wall Street Journal