National Library Week is this week. It is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association and was first celebrated in 1958. Libraries have seen many changes in the past 46 years, but the core values of literacy, free access to information, intellectual freedom, and strengthening community remain the same.
How we meet the needs of our community now includes outreach to daycares, public access computers, electronic collections, and technology classes. For the last 20 years, I’ve heard predictions that the library wasn’t needed and would be going away “soon.” That has not happened, and I don’t think it will happen in the foreseeable future. The Iowa City Public Library is a trusted and well used community resource.
We are in process of compiling all the data from the surveys that people completed in March. This information shows that the Library is considered very important to the quality of life in the community by 94.2% of respondents. More than 80% have visited in the last six months and 31% visit three or more times per month. The Library is a place to “get” stuff and meet people. People filling out the survey were asked what they did on a visit and they replied:
- Checked out library materials (79.2%)
- Searched the library catalog (44%)
- Picked up a hold (32.5%)
- Asked staff for help (31.6%)
- Viewed a display, exhibit or art (17%)
- Attended children in the Childrens Room (13.5%)
- Used wireless network (11.1%)
- Attended a meeting (9.7%)
- Met a friend of colleague (9.7%)
Whatever your reason, I hope you visit soon. And, take the time during National Library Week to share a fond memory you have of an experience in a library.