The Barry-Lawrence Regional Library will celebrate National Library Week from April 9 through April 13.
According to Gina Milburn, Barry-Lawrence Regional Library director, libraries are being used more than ever in a stressed economy. Often reduced library staff are providing more diversified services with fewer resources.
For example, nearly 12,000 public libraries provide free wireless Internet access for their readers. No other source provides a comparable service. The total is almost greater than Starbucks, Borders and Barnes and Noble combined.
Business owners and employees use the resources of public libraries to support their small businesses 2.8 million times each month, according to numbers gathered by the Online Computer Library Center.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services reports that Americans visit the library 1.4 billion times a year. Americans attend movies 1.3 billion times each year. Patrons also visit the library six times more than they attend live sporting events.
Libraries circulate 7.9 million items, valued at $82 million each day. Federal Express ships eight million items worldwide daily.
More public libraries offer free meeting rooms than there are conference centers, convention facilities and auditorium combined.
"Libraries are part of the American dream," Milburn said, "places for opportunity, education, lifelong learning and free and equal access to a world of resources no matter your age, income or background. That dream would not exist if it were not for the people who work in libraries."
On April 10, the second annual National Library Workers Day was held to recognize the varied and valuable services provided by library staff. Milburn encourages area residents to visit local libraries throughout National Library Week to thank staff members for their efforts.
"Sometimes locating just the right answer appears so effortless that the customers don't even realize that it wasn't easy," Milburn said. "Often library workers are drawing on education and experience that make it look that way. Most library staff would tell you that it is rewarding because it involves giving a service that contributes to the overall quality of life in a community.
"It is positive work that should be recognized in a society that values knowledge, learning and opportunity," Milburn added.