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Unformatted text preview: State of America’s Libraries April 2006 / Page 1 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ American Library Association The State of America’s Libraries Executive summary Released on April 3, 2006 Libraries just aren’t what they used to be. They’re more—and better. In this first annual report on the State of America’s Libraries, the American Library Association found that: • Libraries and librarians are good citizens. Librarians nationwide were quick to implement a sustained program of help for librarians and residents along the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast last year, and the American Library Association was quick to reaffirm that it would indeed hold its Annual Conference in New Orleans in June. The ALA conference is expected to bring some 18,000 visitors and $20 million in business to the beleaguered region. • Americans appreciate libraries and librarians. Eighty-nine percent of Americans surveyed early this year reported being satisfied with their public libraries. Most agree that public libraries are under-funded and need more support. • Libraries are keeping up with the times—and with the public’s needs. In the past 10 years, libraries across the country have achieved a major success in connectivity; today, virtually all public libraries in the United States offer public access to the Internet. • Despite uncertain funding at the state level, increased demand for the services provided by libraries and strong local support meant that almost 200 public-library building projects were completed in 2005. Many libraries redesigned spaces in order to create new environments for learning, information retrieval and community activities. However, many communities experienced cutbacks in library budgets, and two libraries briefly closed their doors—a troubling development for many Americans. • Librarians are working to protect Americans’ access to the information they need and their right to read freely. Librarians and other interested parties were actively involved in the continuation of the three-year effort to amend sections of the USA PATRIOT Act that infringe on library patron privacy and civil liberties. They fought hundreds of attempts to censor library materials. They also continued to play an active role negotiating copyright issues in the digital age in order to protect the public’s right to fair use of copyrighted material. This report on the State of America’s Libraries is not meant to be exhaustive but simply to show the many ways in which America’s libraries and librarians are not only adapting in the Age of Google but continuing to play a vital role as information providers, information advisers and community centers. information advisers and community centers....
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- Spring '09
- Public library, American Library Association