Media outlets across the country are reporting that Americans are visiting their libraries more than ever, taking advantage of the free programs and services.According to the ALA’s 2008 State of America’s Libraries Report, Americans visited their libraries nearly 1.3 billion times and checked out more than 2 billion items in the past year, an increase of more than 10 percent in both checked out items and library visits, compared to data from the last economic downturn in 2001.
The ALA Public Information Office started educating media about this upsurge in library visits last summer. Media – large and small – started to cover this developing story and placements continue to roll in.
Most recently, Parade Magazine picked up on the story and interviewed ALA President Jim Rettig in the article “Libraries Facing Closures and Cuts.” Parade is distributed to nearly 330 newspapers world-wide and reaches over 32 million people each week.
The Huffington Post, a daily online news magazine reaching more than two million visitors per month, posted an op-ed written by Rettig entitled “Libraries Stand Ready to Help in Tough Economic Times.”
A few weeks ago, NBC Nightly News (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22425001/vp/28165432#28165432) covered the story in depth. The story has also aired on NPR and the CBS Nightly News.
Look for more stories in the months ahead.
Contributed by Jennifer Petersen, Public Information Office.