Libraries everywhere empower people by providing them with access to information and helping them to fulfil needs related to health, government services and community engagement. In short, libraries help people receive what they need.

  • Resources that patrons can use to access information and pursue interests are preserved at libraries. Librarians use their information seeking expertise to help address a wide variety of needs.
  • Educational opportunities of all kinds are available to people of all ages at the library. For example, more than half of library patrons who used library computers to seek financial aid received funding.
  • Libraries are the community on-ramp to the world of information. Internet access is now one of the most sought after public library services.
  • Libraries provide important e-government services. 97% of public libraries help people apply for government services online.
  • Libraries facilitate patrons’ interactions with other members of the community. 60% of library computer users in a year reported using library resources to maintain person connections. Among these users, 74% reported using library computers to connect with friends or family, 66% communicated with family or friends in the local community, and 35% reported connection with family outside of the United States.
  • Libraries provide an exceptional variety of resources to patrons. U.S. public libraries circulate nearly as many materials every day (7.9 million) as FedEx ships packages worldwide (8 million).
  • Libraries facilitate e-health activities. In a year, 37% of library computer users, an estimated 28 million people, researched health and wellness issues, including learning about medical conditions, medical procedures or diet and nutrition, finding health care providers, and assessing health insurance options.

An everyday example: Staff at the Cochise County Library District helped a diabetic patron install needed software on a library computer that enables him to regularly send reports of his medical condition to his doctor.

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View the sources for statistics about libraries on this page.