Libraries have long been more than just for books. Communities rely on their libraries for a variety of services such as digital materials (including e-books, music, movies, and magazines), computer and internet access, and electronic resources. In 2015, there were over 77 million in person visits to public libraries across Ohio, or nearly 200 thousand visits each day. Libraries are community hubs, offering homework help after school and computer classes for senior citizens. Even in rural areas, libraries deliver services through bookmobiles, outreach initiatives, and home bound programs. In fact, a Pew Research Center survey found that as a rule, people who have extensive economic, social, technological, and cultural resources are also more likely to use and value libraries as part of those networks.
Here are just a few ways libraries empower communities:
- They encourage literacy and inspire lifelong learning: reading has been shown to make us more empathetic and creative and the library makes sure our options challenge us and support our curiosity
- They equalize and level the playing field: regardless of income or class, the library and its resources are open and available to all
- They preserve community history and heritage: libraries store, index, and preserve materials and artifacts unique to a community to educate and inform the next generation
- They encourage curiosity and creativity: the library provides programming and resources so that today’s preschooler can become the next award winning researcher
- They build up communities: libraries provide information, whether it be through library materials, access to the internet, or credible electronic resources