Libraries Important to Communities, Says Authoritative Study

Libraries are vital to the community, according to “How Libraries Stack Up: 2010,” a report from OCLC, the Online Computer Library Center. OCLC is a worldwide library cooperative whose mission is to improve access to information held in libraries and to find ways to reduce costs for libraries through collaboration. Their report states that people are using libraries to help find new jobs and careers and grow their businesses. It goes on to say that libraries are meeting places, resources for answering questions, arenas for discussion and for entertainment.

At Great River Regional Library, we know all those things are true for Central Minnesota. Visits to our libraries and use of our libraries are soaring. In 2009, checkout sessions and items checked out increased 15 percent over 2008. Here's a look at the national picture.

Facts from the OCLC Report

  • Every day, 300,000 Americans get job-seeking help at their public library.
  • Nearly 12,000 public libraries provide wireless Internet access for their users (including the 32 Great River Regional Library branch locations). That’s more than Starbucks.
  • Each month, business owners and employees use public resources 2.8 million times to support their small businesses.
  • More libraries offer technology training classes than there are computer training businesses in the Unites States. Every day, 14,700 people attend free library computer classes. That’s $629 million worth of computer classes annually.
  • Two-thirds of Americans, or 151 million individuals, have a library card. For many young people, the first card in their wallet is a library card.
  • Every day, Americans borrow 2.1 million DVDs from libraries.
  • More public libraries offer free meeting rooms for community groups than there are conference centers, convention facilities and auditoriums combined. Every day, 225 people use library meeting rooms with an estimated annual retail value of $3.2 billion annually.
  • Each year, Americans visit the library more often than they go to the movies and six times more often than they attend live sporting events including professional and NCAA football, baseball, basketball and hockey.

And, libraries continue to be the place to get questions answered and books on any subject. Vital indeed!