A recent Pew phone survey found that the majority of Americans support their public libraries and that 95 percent “agree that the materials and resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed.” Yet only about 54 percent actually used a public library in the past year. While most Americans value public libraries for “promoting literacy and a love of reading; improving the quality of life in a community and providing many services people would have a hard time finding elsewhere, they are split on whether public libraries are as essential as they were in the past for finding information.” You can read the entire article and see a summary of the findings here.
Today’s Chicago Tribune featured a story in the Health & Family section on how much moms love libraries. Reporter Ted Gregory cited the not surprising results of the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project study: “Mothers are outliers in their enthusiasm for libraries and their use of libraries for their own purposes, like visiting the library, checking out books, using library websites and connecting to libraries with mobile devices.” The research confirms the anecdotal knowledge that many hold to be true, but its real import is in it’s role in assuring continuing support for struggling institutions like public libraries as they weather the budget cuts and threats to funding of the current economy. When asked to comment on her love of the library, Maryanne Szweda, mother of four home-school kids in Aurora said, “It’s the best thing you can have for a community.” Read the full article here.