The Public Library: As Popular as Ever

 

Visiting the public library was a regular event throughout my childhood. In fact, for more than a few years, it seemed that hardly a week or two went by between visits. When my friends and I went to the library, it was rarely a quick trip. Most often, we’d spend several hours there rifling through the children’s shelves (which weren’t nearly as many as today) in search of new and interesting tales. Then, once we’d gathered a good-size stack of books, we’d find a comfy spot in the children’s reading area and dive into some new adventure or mystery until it was time to go.

Nowadays, I’m proud to say, my children are library junkies, though I cannot take credit for it. My wife has always been the one to make sure that a trip to the library is at the very least a bi-weekly occurrence (for many years it was weekly). In any case, the library has been an important staple within our family routine, and, according to a recent article by Andrew Albanese, we’re not alone.

Albanese, writing for Publishers Weekly, says that libraries are as popular as ever among children and parents. He points to a survey conducted last fall by Pew Research which indicates that 94% of parents said “libraries are important for their children” while 79% suggested that “libraries are very important”.  Interestingly enough, book borrowing is only part of the reason for their popularity. School preparation, literacy programs, and reading labs also bring families in routinely, according to the survey.

A professed bookworm, I am more than delighted to know that libraries are still a special place for the family. I wasn’t so sure, especially with the many technological distractions of today. But ironically, according to this article, there is reason to believe that those with more technology are those who find the library all the more enticing. Go figure!

I have many fond memories of my childhood trips to the local library, and I’m glad that my children are now busy creating many such memories for themselves. After all, I can’t imagine having to purchase every book that each member of my family wanted to read or to gather research from over the years. Worse yet, I can’t imagine not having access to all of those books or research materials because I didn’t have the money to purchase them.

All in all, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m very glad that we have public libraries—and not just for me and my family, but for the many other families that value its wordy treasures.


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