PUBLIC AGENDA MEDIA | JANUARY 1ST, 2006

Long Overdue

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In this survey of the public, we find Americans prize public library service and see libraries as potential solutions to many communities' most pressing problems, from universal access to computers to the need for better options for keeping teens safe and productive. But few Americans are aware of the increasingly tenuous financial picture faced by many libraries. Forty-five percent give an "A" to their local community for maintaining well-run libraries, far ahead of any other community institutions, including schools, parks and police. Those who think public libraries are primarily used by folks who can't afford bookstores are clearly mistaken -- higher-income families are even more likely to use public libraries than low-income families. Prepared with support from the Americans for Libraries Council and funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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