Usage Up; Funding Down

Newpapers around the country are noting a common phenomenon — the good news, the library is particularly needed during an economic downturn; the bad news, the economic downturn affects libraries, too.

The most recent of these stories is in yesterday’s Washington Post, “Business Brisk at Area Libraries; In Bad Times, Free Resources Are a Hot Commodity.”  The article focuses on the three-year-old Germantown Library in Montgomery County, but also mentions other area libraries  — “Circulation in the last six months of the year rose as much as 23 percent in libraries around the region.”

And, as often is the case, the reporter expresses some surprise at what libraries offer these days,

…[people] can access databases, read Chinese newspapers or the latest graphic teen novel. Users have more and more access from home; they can text in reference questions to a Fairfax County librarian, for example, or listen to podcasts. Fairfax card holders can read an e-book online. Librarians are trying to tailor services to community needs, hoping to add more babysitting certification classes in Silver Spring or résumé-writing workshops in Prince George’s County.

We can only hope that articles like these will help rally library support.

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