Despite “nearly two decades as a librarian, library trainer, and part of the Gates Foundation’s team working to support libraries and their role in communities,” Jessica Dorr is surprised by the popularity of public libraries:
Pew found that 91 percent of Americans (16 or older) say that public libraries are important to their communities, and 76 percent say libraries are important to them and their families. I can’t think of another idea, place, or issue that 91 percent of Americans support. I also think this puts to rest once and for all the notion that public libraries are not needed in a world where information is available predominately online and in electronic formats. Americans continue to see the value of libraries and this report shows that Americans now believe the availability of computers and Internet services is as fundamental to libraries as books and reference help.
In fact, books may no longer be “fundamental” to the library experience; Husna Haq envisions BiblioTech in San Antonio as having “scores of computer terminals, laptops, tablets, and e-readers – but not a dog-eared classic or dusty reference book in sight.”
(Image: Conceptual rendering of BiblioTech courtesy of Bexar County Commissioners Court, via ABC)