Even with a small staff both of our Live Oak County branch libraries go above and beyond for our community. We provide Internet for such things as job searches and homework help, the TexShare databases for professional research sources, an online catalog for easier and faster access to our materials, an interlibrary loan program with access to books all across South Texas, and most of all, a safe place for our community to relax, see their neighbors, read, and relax.
On a national level, the numbers of the inner-workings of libraries are staggering. A recent study citing sources from the America Library Association (ALA), OCLC, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation found these statistics:
Two-thirds of Americans have a library card and for young people it’s usually the first card in their possession.
More people visit the library—1.4 billion a year—over theaters (1.3 billion) and sporting events (210 million).
300,000 Americans use the library for job searches daily.
American business owners and employees use library resources 2.8 million times a month.
2.1 million DVDs are borrowed from libraries in the U.S. over Redbox (1.1 million) and just below Netflix (2.2 million).
Most impressive of all, IMLS states that “U.S. public libraries circulate as many materials every day as FedEx ships packages worldwide.”
In a world of increasing digitization and self-sufficient technology like laptops and iPads, libraries are still your tax dollars at work to provide free access to what makes us great: information. It may look easy, but from cataloging books to being small-time IT workers, our jobs are hard work. But in a community like ours, when we see the good we’ve done from helping someone apply for a job, helping with homework or research, or just getting a patron their favorite book, it’s worth it. So if you haven’t been in to our libraries in a while, stop by. Library cards, like the best things in life, are free.