The American Library Association has published its annual “State of America’s Libraries” report which shows increased library usage without an increase in funding. Key points in the report include:
- Internet use continues to expand at public libraries, which have seen double-digit growth since 2007 in the on-line services they make available to their patrons.
- Ninety-six percent of Americans feel that school libraries are an essential part of the education experience because they provide resources to students and teachers and because they give every child the opportunity to read and learn.
- America’s academic libraries are experiencing increased use, both physical and virtual. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports academic libraries have more than 20.3 million visits per week (1.5 million more than two years earlier), answered more than 1.1 million reference questions, and made more than 498,000 presentations to groups.
- America’s libraries continue their efforts to support minorities and other underserved or disadvantaged populations.
- Library construction fared better in 2009 than many expected during the recession, especially given the unreliability of funding for programming, materials, and hours.
The Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library not only serves students, faculty and staff at the University of Utah, but is also a Regional Medical Library (Midcontinental Region) in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, serving six states in the heart of the western U.S. Library staff field reference inquiries from Utah and its surrounding states, as well as Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.