Posted by Sandy Warren on Sep 09, 2019
Libraries Are More Popular
(and Needed) Than Ever Before
One might think that, in today's era of the Internet and the flood of electronic information to which we are all subjected daily, that a presentation about the state of public libraries might be a tad discouraging with potential reports of empty reading tables and low levels of books being borrowed. However, according to our speaker on Monday, September 9 (Ventura County Library Director Nancy Schram), nothing could be further from the truth.
"In 2016, there were 1.6 billion visits to public " said Nancy. "Our libraries are busier than ever." Such is certainly the case right here in Ventura County. Last year alone, there were 626,000 visits to County libraries, and patrons checked out over half a million items. Nancy noted that, for every dollar spent on libraries, Californians received an average of $3 to $6 in economic value.
Low literacy costs the United States at least $225 billion each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment. Programs like Rotary Ventura South's annual Trivia Challenge (coming up on November 6) that support and improve adult literacy can make a real difference in addressing this issue. (Nancy noted that 126,000 people in Ventura County are reading below the third grade level.)
Nancy also discussed the mobile library that the County operates. She explained that it travels throughout the region, serving people who may not be able to get to one of the branch libraries. "We could use a fleet of these vans, if we had the money," she noted.
For those who think printed books may be a thing of the past (or at least on their way out) due to the prevalence of e-books and devices such as Kindles, Nancy is quick to point out that just as much money in her budget goes to purchasing printed books as to the electronic variety.
Clearly, libraries continue to play a vital role in American communities in general and in Ventura County specifically, and for that we can all be grateful!