Libraries Are a Smart Investment
Have you ever heard the question (or asked yourself), "Why do we need libraries when we have the Internet and eBook readers?" The Denver Public Library encourages you to share the following facts with your friends and family. During a recession, it's more important than ever that library services are known about and shared.
Who needs libraries in the age of the Internet?
Every time a public library adds an Internet computer, the use of everything else goes up: checkouts, visits, reference questions, coming to programs. Why do people use the Internet? To find information, entertainment, and social contact. All of those things go on in the library every day. One doesn't replace the other.
Traffic: have you tried to find a parking space lately? Libraries are anchor stores. Stats on library use: more people visited Colorado libraries (58 million) in 2004 than traveled through Denver International Airport (42.4 million). In 2004, Coloradans borrowed more items from libraries (96.5 million) than purchased Powerball tickets (80.4 million). Attendance at public library programs surpassed 1.4 million in 2004 -- equal to selling out Invesco Field at Mile High 20 times. Annually, there are more visits to libraries than all sporting events COMBINED.
In the state of Colorado, 2 out of 3 people have library cards.
The digital divide: not everybody has high speed Internet access at home. But increasingly, some things can ONLY be done on the Web. Libraries provide a bridge over the digital divide.
Libraries are community hubs. People meet there. Sometimes you just need to back away from the computer screen and talk to actual people.
Libraries are centers for early childhood literacy, offering live story times for the age when language makes a big difference in the development of the brain.
Library buildings provide free and quiet space, sanctuary.
Many business people use the library as a place to get started, use high speed Internet access to do research, or meet clients.
What's the effect of eBook readers – the Kindle, the Sony Reader, the iPad – on the public library?
Many libraries allow you the ability to download eBooks right now. The job of libraries is to promote literacy. Not everybody, right now, can afford a $200-500 device for everybody in the house. Some readers, like the Kindle, allow you to buy books immediately – but you can't give them to somebody else when you're done with them. And in fact, Amazon can take them back from you without your permission. Also, right now, libraries provide a lot of books to the community through book sales, donations, withdrawn materials. Going digital doesn't make materials accessible. We still need the cooperative purchasing agreement of the public library to make sure books – in whatever format – are available to ALL.