10 Ways Libraries Serve Local Communities

For nearly 60 years, the American Library Association has chosen a week in April in which to celebrate, promote, and support libraries. In the 1950’s research indicated that people in the US were spending less and less time reading. They were instead being distracted by radios and those newfangled television sets. Creating a National Library Week was intended to remind people that books matter and that libraries could make a difference.

We are currently in the midst of this year’s National Library Week, and in its honor, I want to highlight 10 ways that libraries serve local communities. The numbers here were taken from the Pew Research Center’s 2016 report on libraries. You can download the full report at this link.

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1.   48% of people 16 and older have visited a library in the past 12 months.

2.   64% of people who visit libraries check out print books.

3.   14% of library attendees use the facility to search or apply for jobs online.

4.   27% of library visitors go to the library to attend classes, programs, or lectures.

5.   89% believe that libraries provide a safe place for people to spend time.

6.   87% think that libraries create educational opportunities for people of all ages.

7.   77% of those surveyed think libraries provide them with the resources they need.

8.   80% of people state that libraries should “definitely” have programs that teach people to use technology.

9.   55% of people think that libraries contribute to a community particularly when a disaster strikes.

10.   74% of people agree that libraries help people decide what information they can trust.

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These are only a few of the ways that libraries serve communities. Still, it is heartening to know that people still view libraries as the beneficial institutions that they are.

Now in honor of National Library Week, let’s all sneak out and find some books.

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John B. Horrigan, “Libraries 2016,” Pew Research Center, 9 September 2016,

Image Attribution: All images from Merkx+Girod,, Accessed 31 January 2017.


11 thoughts on “10 Ways Libraries Serve Local Communities

  1. We are now facing library closures in the UK – even in WW2 when we were facing imminent invasion, Churchill vetoed a move to shut libraries. Wish our politicians these days had his vision.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Staffed libraries build, support and enrich communities. The value that a library brings to a community is well documented and researched internationally but this is not currently being recognised in Ireland. The rollout of staffless libraries across Ireland will undermine the key role libraries play in communities. We need to broaden our minds when we consider the value of public libraries and their social impact. What about the intangible benefits and hidden outcomes?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, dear. I didn’t even know that staffless libraries existed in any meaningful numbers. (Or that people were trying to create staffless hours.) That seems diametrically opposed to the purpose of libraries.


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