stakeholders, inside and outside the library represent library users with children or grandchildren; employees from the community at large, who check out materials for use at their workplace, as well as job seekers; library users who contact public library reference libraries for information; and technology users with a need for Internet access.
Enrichment by Personal Learning and Recreation
Directly related to the issue of citizens and their personal productivity is the survey finding that for almost half of patrons, the prime reason for visiting the central library was to look for information on a subject. Interviews with patrons revealed an extremely wide array of reasons as to why information was being sought. While some reasons had to do with paid employment (looking up information directly related to their work), in many cases the information sought related to other areas of life involving serious projects and pursuits that could not be characterized as merely recreational, including projects having to do with theater set design, a photographic exhibition, research for a film, small business development, and writing a screenplay, to name a few. These examples emphasize that the construction of public culture is a complex, ongoing process in which individuals are engaged in often surprising ways. Thus, the research suggests that the search for relevant information and its subsequent use in productive activity may be an integral characteristic of the construction of contemporary public culture in the emergent twenty-first century. If this is true, the central library is then a key site of both cultural consumption and production and a facilitator of civil society in a way that other public places are not (p. 354).
The autobiographies affirmed that the librarian has helped to develop the love of books and the sense of connectedness that students need in order to “want” to read. This in turn leads to choice reading, vocabulary increase, higher fluency and the ability to demonstrate those skills in a variety of ways. The individuals in the role of librarian have a huge impact on this willingness and interest in reading.
Informational and collaborative networks of librarians and other professionals who serve preschoolers in child care can promote secure emotional growth so that a child grows up deeply confident that he or she is lovable and loved. This emotional foundation supports positive attitude towards learning and presages with high probability that, with the help of adult mentors, each child will become the kind of learner and reader who will succeed in school…
Public library programs offer wonderful opportunities for promoting school-readiness skills in children and creating positive associations with books while showing parents how important these skills are and how to reinforce them at home.
Forty-three percent stated that having a public library move into a community would help attract businesses to the area, and 78 percent believed that public libraries improve a community by helping people learn new skills so they can get better jobs. A whopping 98 percent felt that public libraries help people learn new things no matter what their age.
Happily, 42 percent gave public libraries an "A", ranking us at the top of local public services that included police and public safety, parks and recreation, public schools, social service, roads and mass transit, and local government efficiency. Marylanders told us that, next to public green space (parks), they ranked public libraries as the most desired community asset.
Eighty-one percent (81%) of economically impacted Americans have a library card compared to 68% for Americans who have not been impacted. Economically impacted Americans are 50% more likely to visit their library at least weekly (18% vs. 12%) and are nearly a third more likely to visit at least once a month (36% vs. 27%). More than a third (37%) of economically impacted respondents said they are using the library more often than they did before the economic downturn. Increased library use is substantially higher than any other lifestyle activity increase measured.
A majority of public libraries, 67%, report that they are the only free source of computer and Internet access for the communities they serve.
The benefits go far beyond simply enjoyment and amusement, to being an essential form of relaxation for some people, helping to relieve stress, providing a break from the pressures of everyday life, and assisting others with the treatment of an illness. (p.138) The opportunities offered by libraries, in addition to providing access to books and other recreational materials such as videos, further enhance people's leisure time by giving them the chance to socialize and by providing access to activities many others in society take for granted because they can afford them. (p.139)