I can tell you, offhand, that in just the last four weeks alone, we (FPL) checked-out more than 14,000 items to our patrons. Library Public Computer usage (for internet/email access) remained steady and we registered 106 new library cards.
Overall public usage has steadily increased for us over the last four years and shows no signs of slowing down.
The Wall Street Journal reported on how some libraries are taking “extreme measures” to stay relevant -as adhoc “community rec centers.” “Blacksmithing, Bowling, Butchering: To Draw Crowds, Some Facilities Offer Much More Than Books; Expanding the Tool Selection”
FPL, meanwhile, enjoys hosting Rock Concerts!
Sam Roberts of the New York Times reported this week, via the City Room-blog: -As Use of Libraries Grows, Government Support Has Eroded-– “New York’s three public library systems — workhorses all — are trying to do more with less…”
“Despite the growth of e-readers and digital technology, New Yorkers are spending more time in libraries than ever.” -(Read the full story on WNYC’s main web site).
Programming sessions hosted and attendance for New York Public Library events have increased considerably, with their Circulation up almost 60%. Yet city funding has dropped 8% -reducing full-time equivalent employment by 24%.
Public Policy Organization Center for Urban Future recently released their study “Branches of Opportunity” – proving that while usage is up (aiding adults in the upgrade of work skills and job-searches, assisting immigrants with assimilation, fostering reading skills in young people and providing technology-access for those without a computer), funding is down, thanks to an “undervalued” appraisal of libraries by policymakers. Listen to the story from WNYC.
As we progress further into the digital age, Libraries are serving new roles in communities .