The Growing Importance Of Community Libraries

Many of us think of libraries as vaults filled with aisle upon aisle of books, but community libraries are so much more than a book exchange. With more people spending more time online and less time interacting with others face to face, libraries play a critical role in facilitating and promoting community engagement. Whether you already have friends in the local area, or you’re new to the neighborhood, the library is a welcoming, safe place where you can meet, take your children or collaborate on projects for school, college or work. Over 70% of people think their library is important, and over 90% believe a local library strengthens community ties. Libraries boast resources that are designed to benefit every member of the community, and they provide opportunities for children, teenagers and adults. In addition to encouraging people to learn and engage in subjects like politics, libraries also provide practical advice and guidance. From assistance with job seeking for homeless people to support with healthcare for those who have recently moved to the US, many libraries offer free advice and even one-to-one sessions. The library is also a valuable platform for learning and development, with children, employees, college students and budding entrepreneurs able to access resources for work projects, creative activities and business tasks. For parents, libraries can be particularly valuable. Through storytime, reading programs and summer schools, children can develop their reading skills at the same time as meeting new friends. More than 80% of people said they would like libraries to run free early literacy schemes to prepare children for school. Finally, one of the most critical benefits of the community library in 2020 is providing access to free Internet. As we spend more time online, public libraries offer a means of leveling the playing field and helping those who don’t have wifi at home to reap the rewards.
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