Interesting article out of the Huffington Post on the importance of funding public libraries. Surprising stats.
Opportunity and Access: The Power of Today's Public Libraries
I worked in a library (in southern Ontario) for a few years and I can anecdotally (a word??) attest to the findings in the article. It is vitally important that public libraries provide a place where people, who may not have access to the internet or the money to buy books, are able to actively participate in our information age. I also witnessed quite often just the free public space that libraries offered (coupled with access to the internet) being used as a haven for kids and teens who had a less than ideal home life. In these cases, like teachers in a small way*, library staff become key figures and influences in some of these peoples lives. Another note on the use of the internet in libraries is by elderly people. When working at my local library I had the opportunity to teach seniors (and even sometimes middle aged people) how to use a computer and the internet. This training became vitally important in more than a few people's lives; indeed I was able to witness some heart touching connections between generations are older people actively sought to take part in the world of their kids and grandkids. To cut budgets from libraries endangers cutting a whole swath of the population out of OUR information age.*
The link was found through a daily link subscription. Library Link of the Day . It's become very useful :)
random uni student
* Most teachers fill this role far more substantially than any library staff could. I certainly don't wish to take away from the good work and influence of our teachers.
*Noted that there are other places to access free internet, such as employment offices, but these are not as numerous as libraries and often the mandate of these sites is to use internet access for job searching.
Update: Found this article as well, it fits nicely to the theme...Libraries and Librarians Are Endangered Species: What You Can Do to Help