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The ALA reports that when jobs go away, Americans turn to their libraries to find information about future employment or educational opportunities. This library usage trend and others are detailed in the 2010 State of America’s Libraries report. The report shows that Americans have turned to their libraries in larger numbers in recent years.
Since the recession took hold in December 2007, the local library, a traditional source of free access to books, magazines, CDs, and DVDs, has become a lifeline, offering technology training and workshops on topics that ranged from résumé-writing to job-interview skills.
The report shows the value of libraries in helping Americans combat the recession. It includes data from a January 2010 Harris Interactive poll that provides compelling evidence that a decade-long trend of increasing library use is continuing—and even accelerating during economic hard times. This national survey indicates that some 219 million Americans feel the public library improves the quality of life in their community. More than 223 million Americans feel that because it provides free access to materials and resources, the public library plays an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed.
And with more businesses and government agencies requiring applicants to apply on line, job-seeking resources are among the most critical and most in demand among the technology resources available in U.S. public libraries. Two-thirds of public libraries help patrons complete online job applications; provide access to job databases and other online resources (88 percent) and civil service exam materials (75 percent); and offer software or other resources (69 percent) to help patrons create résumés and other employment materials.
However, the report also shows that increased library use did not lead to an increase in funding for libraries. Research by the ALA and the Center for Library and Information Innovation at the University of Maryland suggests a “perfect storm” of growing community demand for library services and shrinking resources to meet that demand. While library use soars, a majority of states are reporting cuts in funding to public libraries and to the state library agencies that support them.
OCLC: How Libraries Stack Up
The new OCLC report, OCLC: How Libraries Stack Up, examines the economic, social and cultural impact of libraries in the United States. As the current economic environment is impacting library budgets and library usage is increasing, particular attention is paid to the role that libraries play in providing assistance to job-seekers and support for small businesses. Information includes statistics on:
This information may be useful to librarians as they develop budget proposals and discuss the value of library services in the context of community needs. Two versions of the report are available for download; one in color and one optimized for black-and-white printing.
The Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology will once again host its informal gathering of historic preservation organizations, “Grassroots Preservation Roundup,” on May 1, 2010 in Whiting, IN, with the City of Whiting as our co-sponsor. The Roundup will take place at the Hoosier Theatre in Whiting. This event will be informal, is open to anyone, and is FREE! It is intended to help local preservationists make connections with each other and the State Historic Preservation Office for the common cause of preserving local landmarks and heritage.
Participants will have the chance to learn about the DHPA’s programs, give brief presentations about their organizations’ successes, challenges, and activities, and network with colleagues from other communities.
If you are interested in joining in this exchange of ideas RSVP no later than April 24, 2010 by email to Ashley Lichtenbarger at email@example.com or by calling (317) 234-1268. More information can be viewed at www.in.gov/dnr/historic/2835.htm.
The Indiana State Library would like to thank the many libraries participating in Snapshot of Indiana Libraries. If you still have not registered, libraries of all types are still invited to host a Snapshot Day between now and Saturday. To register, email snapshot@library.IN.gov and include the name of your library, and the name and contact information of the person coordinating the effort at your library.
The Snapshot of Indiana Libraries Online Reporting Form is currently live and will be available until Monday, April 19. Also be sure to check out the official Snapshot Flickr page throughout the week as new snapshots of library events are added daily.
Snapshot of Indiana Libraries was developed by the Indiana State Library and is supported by the Indiana Library Federation and Indiana Public Library Association. The event is being held during National Library Week - an annual celebration of the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians. Snapshot Day statistics will be made available by May 1, 2010 followed by a full report and recap available later this summer.
The Wednesday Word is a free publication produced by the Indiana State Library, distributed weekly in an electronic format. Past issues are archived at www.in.gov/library/newsroom.htm.
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