What do today’s libraries do for our communities? It’s a simple question, but one that has more answers than ever before. The services libraries provide now revolve not just around stacks of books, but also around internet connection and cutting edge digital technologies that help people fulfill basic needs and pursue a wide range of interests. At ALA, we’re on a mission to raise awareness of this reality. In pursuit of this goal, ALA coined The E’s of Libraries® trademark to promote public awareness of all that today's libraries, with the Expert assistance of library professionals, help facilitate: Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Empowerment, and Engagement for Everyone, Everywhere:
Libraries provide people with information, networking and technology expertise and vast numbers of programs across numerous disciplines and interest areas. Additionally, as public spaces where all are welcome, libraries offer people opportunities to meet and socialize with others in their community, whether at a children’s story hour, an English as a Second Language class, or a technology meet-up.
- Public libraries offer 3.75 million public programs per year.
- Many library staff members interact daily with a wide range of the public, and as a result have insight into community needs. As a result, these staff tailor programs, resources and library facilities to meet the needs of the community.
- Library technical staff have expertise in managing public Internet networks and devices.
Libraries assist people of all backgrounds, ages and financial means, in every part of our country.
- There are approximately 16,000 public library buildings across the U.S. today, including both central libraries and branches, which are organized into about 9,000 administrative units.
- Public libraries offer a wide variety of resources, services and benefits all for free to users. As a result, library benefits are available to all, regardless of income level, background or locale.
- 40% of people living with a disability state that library help applying for government services is “very important” to them.
- 91% of Americans ages 16 and older say public libraries are important to their communities; and 76% say libraries are important to them and their families.
- American adults of all age group visited libraries in the past year, including 62% of those aged 16-17, 57% of those aged 18-29, 59% of those aged 30-49, 51% of those aged 50-64, and 40% of those aged 65+.
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View the sources for statistics about libraries on this page.
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