Researcher and Writer in Washington, DC

Do We Still Need Public Libraries? Part 2

Martin Luther King Library, Washington, DC. Source:

A few weeks back, I wrote this think piece about public libraries in America.

Technology, clearly, has played a role in confusing the purpose(s) of libraries. For example, the recent move by libraries to put big money into IT systems that permit patrons to borrow e-books has been questioned.

On January 22, 2013, the New York Times reported that a new survey by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project

found that 80 percent of Americans said book borrowing was a “very important” library service, but 77 percent said the same thing about computers and the Internet; and

of the 53 percent of respondents who had actually visited a library or mobile book location in the last year, 73 percent said they went in order to borrow print books, and only 49 percent said they visit libraries “to sit, read, and study, or watch or listen to media.

Read more at And the Pew report may be accessed at


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