Are public libraries still relevant in this digital age?

Image of thumbs up in library

In a word, yes!

In fact many see public libraries as more relevant than ever. This explains why many communities around the world are expanding their public libraries or building new ones. Scroll down to learn more.

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Library attendance is up

Did you know that in 2016 more people attended library events in the United States than the NFL, MLB and the NBA combined? Programming continues to expand, up 27% in the last seven years.

Graphic showing PEW survey results about library value
The library is an essential learning center and safe haven

This survey in 2017 shows that a large majority of Americans see their public library as an essential learning center, safe haven, and gathering place for their community.

Image of a mother reading to a child in a library
Early readers are successful

Study after study has shown that reading to young children is a key to their success. Moreover, the greater the variety of printed books (as is found in a good public library), the better. Since most brain growth occurs between birth and age five, ideally children should have visited the library hundreds of times before even stepping into a school.

Image from DeepDive article on libraries role in smart cities
The library is a smart city's 'hub for digital intelligence'

Read this article from DeepDive, a respected business journalism site, discussing the public library's ongoing role in creating 'smart cities.'

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The best digital content is rarely free

It's sometimes said that "since everything is online why do we need libraries?" Besides the fact not everything (or every person) is online, much of what's valuable and popular in digital form is copyrighted, and therefore rarely free. Libraries will continue to provide universal access by first assuring that everyone in the community can get online, and then providing access to high quality digital information and entertainment once they are there.

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Libraries are trusted spaces

Libraries have earned the trust of the communities they serve. We fight for intellectual freedom, carefully protect privacy and work to provide resources to everyone in the community.

Infographic from MarketWatch article
More Americans go to libraries than to the movies

Given what you've learned, this infographic from a recent MarketWatch article should no longer be surprising.