Posted by Lori Ayre on February 24, 2011

I’m passing along this very important report from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) as part of their Public Library Innovations grant program funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

I’ve pulled out this excerpt chock full of useful stats for you to use when you talk to people about budget cuts!

Today’s libraries act as a new type of town square, a place for people of all ages and backgrounds to seek help, connect with others, and get access to the information and services they need. In 2009, 169 million people in the United States visited a public library to find work, apply for college, secure government benefits, learn about critical medical treatments, and enjoy free access to the Internet. A recent study revealed that approximately 40% of library patrons use library computers for career and education needs.

The public library is also a government service that receives very high support from the public. According to a 2010 study, 74 percent of respondents said the library is an important asset for their own computer and Internet use and 84 percent said the library is an important asset for the community. Few government services receive such broad public support.

Full report is here:

The source for above statistics is: Becker, Samantha, Michael D. Crandall, Karen E. Fisher, Bo Kinney, Carol Landry, and Anita Rocha. Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries. Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2010.