The State of America’s Libraries 2009

Source: American Library Association, April 2009

Library use increases dramatically as economy sags; funding declines.

The importance of libraries in American life continued to grow in 2008–and accelerated dramatically as the national economy sank and people looked for sources of free, effective help in a time of crisis.

A Harris Poll released in September revealed that 68 percent of Americans have a library card, an increase of 5 percent since 2006. In-person visits increased 10 percent in the same period, and 76 percent of Americans had visited their local public library in the year preceding the survey, compared with 66 percent two years ago. Online-visit data were even more remarkable: 41 percent of library card holders visited their library websites in the year before the poll, compared with 24 percent in 2006.

Libraries, an excellent community resource in ordinary times, in extraordinary times become something of a goldmine.
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