Jorge Luis Borges specialized in envisioning the unenvisionable: a map the same size as the land it depicts, an event whose possible outcomes all occur simultaneously, a single point in space containing all other points in space, a vast library containing all possible books.
When you hide your cell phone, log off your computer, and find a few rare moments of calm to read some poetry or a weighty novel, it certainly feels as though it ought to be good for you. Just as filling your lungs with fresh air leaves you feeling physically rejuvenated, the words and plot twists of smart literature seem to exercise and cleanse your mind.
That’s how it feels, but psychology researchers have found it difficult to document the concrete benefits of reading
SEPTEMBER 10, 2015 – The New York Public Library announced today that it is dramatically increasing hours – including Sunday service at four additional branches – and expert staff as a result of the city’s unprecedented investment in libraries.
The following list is taken from news reports and from information supplied by local authorities and library users. It does not claim to be comprehensive.
Number listed below suggest is an absolute minimum of 354 (this figure constantly updated) from media reports.
The CIPFA report for 2013/14 reports 139 “community managed co-produced” libraries (129 in England), 46 “community supported co-produced libraries” (45 in England) and 249 “commissioned co-produced libraries” (these are run largely non-profit trusts: 138 in England, 109 in Scotland, 2 in Wales). This is based on figures provided by library authorities themselves.
Here is an indisputable fact: Americans love their public libraries. Evidence to support this statement abounds.
A 2013 Pew Research Center report showed that in the previous decade "every other major institution (government, churches, banks, corporations) has fallen in public esteem except libraries, the military and first responders." The study also found that 91% of those surveyed over the age of 16 said libraries are "very" or "somewhat" important to their communities, and 98% identified their public library experience as "very" or "mostly positive." Another Pew study found 94% of parents believe libraries are important for their children; 84% said because libraries develop a love of reading and books.
Although in the 1980s, many predicted the demise of public libraries by the turn of the century, they've been proven wrong. In 2012, the latest year for which we have statistics, the U.S. had more public libraries than ever — 17,219, including branches and bookmobiles. While the number of visits declined slightly that year from 1.52 to 1.5 billion (the recession forced libraries to reduce hours by 2%; more patrons were downloading library e-books from home), the decade nonetheless showed a 21% increase.
The European Union currently consists of 28 member countries. Carol Bream, Advisor on the future of libraries at the European Commission Central Library, tells how their library shares highly confidential materials across borders using OCLC WorldCat...
During the summer of 2013, I took my family on a long road trip west across Illinois, through Iowa and the plains of Nebraska, then high up into the Rocky Mountains. Along the way, we made a point to
top off in small Midwest towns. We were on a mission to find an endangered species in the world of the bibliophile -- Carnegie libraries.From 1883 to 1929, Andrew Carnegie, the controversial American businessman and philanthropist, funded the construction of 1,689 libraries in towns and cities across the United States. Carnegie's legacy is checkered due to cutthroat labor practices as a businessman and an anti-union history. But his dedication to libraries is untarnished. He was, at the apex of his career in the late 1800s, the richest man in the world worth an estimated $500 million. He gave $60 million away to build libraries across the nation.
A new survey from Pew Research Centre highlights the issues currently facing American public libraries and provides food for thought for public libraries globally.
The report show that while citizens believe that libraries are important community institutions and profess interest in libraries offering a range of new program possibilities there are signs that the share of Americans visiting libraries has edged downward over the past three years, although it is too soon to know whether or not this is a trend.
Many Americans say they want public libraries to: - support local education;
- serve special constituents such as veterans, active-duty military personnel and immigrants;
-help local businesses, job seekers and those upgrading their work skills;
- embrace new technologies such as 3-D printers and provide services to help patrons learn about high-tech gadgetry.
Additionally, two-thirds of Americans (65%) ages 16 and older say that closing their local public library would have a major impact on their community. Low-income Americans, Hispanics and African Americans are more likely than others to say that a library closing would impact their lives and communities.
A nonprofit in Trenton, NJ hopes to revitalize unused library space and provide a community center to serve students and families. The bigger question is, how can cities and states continue to ignore the needs of their community by underfunding library systems?
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