The Value of Public Libraries

A cartoon by Chris Obrion for The Roanoke Times.

I grew up going to the library every week because at the rate I read books it was so much cheaper to go there than to buy new books. I want to be a librarian because I know how important libraries are and how important they were to me when I was little.

Libraries are essential to a livable society and have been around for thousands of years. Libraries are where children learn to read and expand their knowledge and where high schoolers and college students go to find the necessary research for the papers they need to write. Only a tiny fraction of the world’s information is available for free on the internet. But all of it is available through libraries. The author Matt Haig tweeted “Love libraries. They aren’t just about books. They are almost the only public space we have left which don’t like our wallets more than us.” They are the one place that provides free wifi, books, movies, computers, historical data, educational programs, and other resources. A library card is free. All sorts of information and fictional worlds—free. A library is a quiet, warm place to study and even programs to learn new languages and skills. Libraries serve a vital social service by helping bridge the gap between the haves and the have nots, especially when it comes to literacy and computer skills training. Libraries are accessible to everyone and that’s why they are essential to our society.

Library Use; a study by the Pew Research Center

 

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