Here’s the summary from a new Pew Internet & American Life survey of 6,224 Americans 16 years and older:
Some 90% of Americans ages 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an impact on their community, with 63% saying it would have a “major” impact. Asked about the personal impact of a public library closing, two-thirds (67%) of Americans said it would affect them and their families, including 29% who said it would have a major impact. Moreover, the vast majority of Americans ages 16 and older say that public libraries play an important role in their communities:
95% of Americans ages 16 and older agree that the materials and resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed;
95% say that public libraries are important because they promote literacy and a love of reading;
94% say that having a public library improves the quality of life in a community;
81% say that public libraries provide many services people would have a hard time finding elsewhere.
I find it encouraging that while only 54% of Americans have used a public library in the past 12 months, 95% think libraries play an important social role. The half of Americans who don’t use public libraries still see the importance of maintaining them. The Pew report confirms that “Libraries are also particularly valued by those who are unemployed, retired, or searching for a job, as well as those living with a disability and internet users who lack home internet access.”
The full report is available online for free because Pew.