We are everywhere!
By “We” I mean public libraries, of course.
According to the American Library Association there are 16,568 public libraries (including branch locations) in the United States!
That’s more libraries than there are Starbucks! Than there are McDonald’s! More than all the KFCs, Taco Bells and Walmarts put together!
According to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, those 16,568 libraries serve over 297 million people, over 96% of the population! There are 3 libraries and 5.8 library outlets (branches, bookmobiles, etc.) for every 100,000 people.
It turns out we are a big part of life for a huge number of Americans. We’re just kind of quiet about it. Self-promotion is difficult when you have been quietly doing your job of providing free access to books, information, technology, services and educational, cultural and entertainment programming for the last couple of hundred years. We are working on it, but it is slow going.
The good news is that you can help. If you are one of those 297 million that we serve, and odds are good that your are, just keep us in mind. Remember us the next time you’re in line at Starbucks, and maybe make a note to let somebody know about how great the local library is.
It doesn’t matter where your are, there should be one nearby.