The Value & Purpose of Public Libraries

Frank Nero presents one of the best arguments in favor of public library investment I’ve read:

My view by Frank Nero: Libraries are a crucial investment in children, education, community by Frank Nero (posted on the Miami Herald on June 29, 2014)

In addition to the compelling numbers associated with the economic impact of libraries in a community, he offers powerful statements about the value and purpose of libraries.

On education and early literacy:

[E]arly exposure to books and reading is a critical determinant in a child’s academic success, and the independent research skills that libraries foster are both an essential ingredient in academic success and lifelong learning.

Public libraries have always been the gateway to education for preschool children and have always played a major role in supporting formal education.

And this perfectly sums up an argument that I frequently make about the role of libraries in the Digital Age:

The physical space that libraries have is a real asset that shouldn’t be ignored during this era of transition to all things digital. Libraries are community centers where people come and access the resources they need to do whatever they need to do. That may be for schoolwork, it may be to apply for a job or unemployment benefits, or it may be to run a business. Libraries can be the span to help bridge the digital divide.

The success of libraries in the future may have a lot to do with how flexible they can be in adapting to the needs of the community, but even so, the core mission of libraries remains the same. Its traditional role has always been as a community resource for information and referral – it’s just that technology is changing how it does that. We must recognize that libraries are not just a collection of books, but a collection of experiences and opportunities.

I’d like to see Mr. Nero’s op-ed piece shared as widely as possible.

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