The hallowed institution of public libraries has had its obituary prematurely read from the public square. Truth be told, the CCC library system broke an unprecedented 5 million circulation mark in 2006-07. Yet another barrier was broken for the 2007-08 fiscal year, with circulation hitting 6,132,207, a whopping 13-percent increase.
The county library's signs of vigor coincide with national trends. A 2006 study shows more than two-thirds of Americans surveyed owned library cards.
Over half had frequented a library within the last year and 66 percent reported usage by visit, phone or Internet; 70 percent reported significant satisfaction with libraries, up 10 points from 2002. Book borrowing increased 14 percent; 83 percent believed libraries and librarians play a vital role in our democracy.
The rub, then, is that the Internet has not, as some argue, diminished the role of libraries. A study by Pew Internet and American Life Project and the University of Illinois showed the contrary.
Internet users are more than twice as likely to patronize libraries as non-Internet users. In fact, two-thirds of all library users availed themselves of computers while in the building for topics as diverse as job, tax, health care and education searches.
Death never looked so robust.
Antioch Representative, CCC Library Commission