library services allows for personal and professional development

The fact that so many materials are not only available, but available to be borrowed without paying a fee is of paramount importance. Many focus group participants noted that libraries "level the playing field." While many people of higher socioeconomic status routinely purchase books, subscribe to periodicals, and conduct their research online without ever visiting a library, many lower income individuals and families do not have that option. 21% of Wisconsin workers earn poverty level wages. Universal access is one of the most important strengths of the library. The availability of resources, technology, and educational opportunities provide everyone with the availability to improve themselves and their life circumstances. Even those patrons in higher income brackets need to prioritize their spending, and the fact is that even those who could afford to purchase more books and materials appreciate having a large collection available for checkout (p. 53).

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