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How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities

54% of Americans have used a public library in the past year, and 72% live in a “library household.” Most say libraries are very important to their communities. Kathryn Zickuhr, Lee Rainie, Kristen Purcell and Maeve Duggan:

  • “Americans strongly value the role of public libraries in their communities, both for providing access to materials and resources and for promoting literacy and improving the overall quality of life. Most Americans say they have only had positive experiences at public libraries, and value a range of library resources and services.
  • The importance of public libraries to their communities - Some 90% of Americans ages 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an impact on their community, with 63% saying it would have a “major” impact. Asked about the personal impact of a public library closing, two-thirds (67%) of Americans said it would affect them and their families, including 29% who said it would have a major impact.
  • Moreover, the vast majority of Americans ages 16 and older say that public libraries play an important role in their communities:
    • 95% of Americans ages 16 and older agree that the materials and resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed;
    • 95% say that public libraries are important because they promote literacy and a love of reading;
    • 94% say that having a public library improves the quality of life in a community;
    • 81% say that public libraries provide many services people would have a hard time finding elsewhere.”

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