Branches of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library will celebrate National Library Week from April 9 through April 13.
According to Gina Milburn, director of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library, libraries are being used more than ever in a stressed economy. Often reduced library staff are providing more diversified services with fewer resources.
For example, nearly 12,000 public libraries provide free wireless Internet access for their readers. No other source provides a comparable service. The total is nearly greater than Starbucks, Borders and Barnes and Noble combined. Business owners and employees use the resources of public libraries to support their small businesses 2.8 million times each month, according to numbers gathered by the Online Computer Library Center.
Tuesday, April 10 will be the second National Library Workers Day, recognizing the varied and valuable services provided by library staff, from research to creating displays and story hours for children.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services reports that the U.S. public visits the library 1.4 billion times a year. During the same time, Americans attended the movies 1.3 billion times. Library visits number six times attendance at live sporting events.
Libraries also circulate almost as much material every day, 7.9 million items valued at $82 million, as the 8 million items shipped daily by Federal Express worldwide. More public libraries offer free meeting rooms than there are conference centers, convention facilities and auditorium combined.
"Libraries are part of the American dream," Milburn said, "places for opportunity, education, lifelong learning and free and equal access to a world of resources no matter your age, income or background. That dream would not exist if it were not for the people who work in libraries."
Milburn urged visiting local libraries on April 10 to thank library staff for their efforts.
"Sometimes locating just the right answer appears so effortless that the customers don't even realize that it wasn't easy," Milburn said. "Often library workers are drawing on education and experience that make it look that way. Most library staff would tell you that it is rewarding because it involves giving a service that contributes to the overall quality of life in a community.
"It is positive work that should be recognized in a society that values knowledge, learning and opportunity," Milburn added.