New Research on Library Usage/Funding

Picture1Interesting findings from a recent Pew Research Study: Library Usage goes down during recessions, because apparently that statistic tends to syncs up with the rate (whether healthy or strained,) of public investment. Funding effects library usage, it seems….

The Ferndale Area District Library recently received the endearing support of its community when, last August, two-thirds of voters approved a renewal of our millage for 10 years. Our library, just like so many, had to make tough cuts several years ago as a response to the dips in revenue from the ’08 recession. It seems, from these recent studies, that technology isn’t the primary culprit for dips in library usage–it’s that when times are tough, so to speak, the library also sadly sees its attendance numbers diminish.

We found that as investments, such as revenue, staffing, and programs, increased, so did critical use measures, such as visitation and circulation… –PEW

People continue to use their local public libraries—for access to books and information and for gathering as a community–seeing themselves as lifetime learners.

Technology, of course, plays a considerable factor–an age of apps and streaming services would no doubt cause a certain portion of potential library patrons to overlook the resources at their library, and that’s forgivable. But the problem, our continuing struggle, is, in a sense, marketing. The Public Library needs to let all of its community members know just how awesome it is…to put it one way.


So, while I have you here… Let me just reiterate that this library can get you access to any eBook or MP3 Audiobook you may want, through our OVERDRIVE service. Then…, you can stream movies and stream new albums (as well as read digital graphic novels) through HOOPLA. After that, we have career building services like Cypress Resume, and product-testing information from Consumer Reports.  Or? Maybe you’re doing research and need to track down a sturdy database? Or find some eclectic titles that our library co-op doesn’t currently circulate? The Michigan Electronic Library (MeL) could help you with both of those…

All of this, just with your library card.

All we can do is our very best to spread the word about our services, materials, digital access, and resources.  But I’ll wrap up this blog post with a quote from a recent article on Atlantic Monthly‘s website:

So what can a public library do to reverse the downward trend? Maybe that’s the wrong way to phrase the question. Because if the public wants to reverse the trend and make the local library more useful, it should do one thing that evidence supports: Fund it better.


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