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The ways in which libraries transform are as nuanced and varied as the people they serve. Physical transformations are easy to spot. Transformations in service and scope can be less apparent, but are ever changing. So why are libraries transforming?
Libraries strengthen local economies.
73% of public libraries assist patrons with job applications and interviewing skills;
68% help patrons use databases to find career openings;
48% provide access to and assist entrepreneurs with online business information resources;
More than 36% offer work space for mobile workers.
Libraries create healthier communities.
77% of public libraries offer online health resources;
59% provide programs on finding health insurance.
Libraries are the place for lifelong learning.
Public libraries offer 4.3 million programs per year;
95% provide online homework assistance;
95% offer summer reading programs for children.Library access equals opportunity.
100% of public libraries offer access to the Internet;
90% help patrons with basic Internet skills;
97% help people complete online government forms.
From: " Quotable Facts 2017." ala.org, American Library Association, www.ala.org/offices/sites/ala.org.offices/files/content/quotable%20facts.2017.downloadable.pdf. Accessed 31 Jan. 2017.
Changing Role of Libraries
Why are libraries important?
Libraries are not just about what we have for people, but what we do for and with people.
Our society is at a critical juncture with regard to the changing information landscape and the skills needed to thrive in our digital world.
Libraries also are expanding beyond their traditional roles and providing more opportunities for community engagement and deliver new services that connect closely with patrons’ needs.
As the heart of the community, libraries are a resource for people of any age to find what they need to help improve their quality of life.
Changing Role of Libraries
From gardening, cooking, grant writing and PowerPoint, your library most likely offers a range of educational workshops for all tastes and needs.
Libraries are helping artists and inventors produce their own 3D models of artwork and future models.
Apply to college – libraries offer education directories, school guides and ratings and information on financial aid.
Get business smart – libraries offer business resource centers with information on how to start a small business, how to find a job or even how to write a good cover letter.
Libraries offer a variety of cultural and literacy programs ranging from author programs, book clubs to theatrical performances.
Library professionals facilitate individual opportunity and community progress.
Libraries are committed to advancing their legacy of reading and developing a digitally inclusive society.
Libraries of all kinds add value in five key areas: education, employment, entrepreneurship, empowerment and engagement.
Libraries are places of community engagement. Many libraries have developed or are developing spaces for design and activities that both teach and empower patrons.
The learning in these spaces varies wildly – from home bicycle repair, to using 3D printers and self-publishing equipment, to building model airplanes.
Maker spaces promote learning through play; have the potential to demystify science, math, technology and engineering.
There are a number of freestanding and school-based maker spaces nationwide, and several forward-thinking libraries have started developing them for their communities.
Close to 90% of libraries offer basic digital literacy training, and a significant majority support training related to new technology devices, safe online practices and social media use.
Virtually all (more than 90%) libraries have adopted and provide access to e-books, and growing numbers of libraries offer scanners (63%), early learning technologies for preK learners (45%), wireless printers (40%) and tablets (21%).
3D printers also continue to tick up, with more than 400 libraries providing access.
A vast majority of libraries also offer online homework assistance, employment resources, health resources and language learning.
Two-thirds of all libraries upgraded technology infrastructure in the past 24 months—including updating computers, bandwidth and electrical outlets.
Learn more at www.librariestransform.org.
From: "Libraries Transform Toolkit." ala.org, American Library Association, www.ilovelibraries.org/librariestransform/toolkit/media-relations. Accessed 31 Jan. 2017.