Utne Blogs > Literature

Recession: A Mixed Blessing for Libraries

 by Julie Hanus


Tags: books and publishers, literary news, libraries, recession, New York Times, National Public Radio, the FISH Bits, DIY,

An economic downturn could be a mixed blessing for U.S. libraries. On the one hand, recession drives up library usage, as more people borrow—instead of buy—books. Libraries also provide information (and computer access) for job seekers, as well as cash-strapped citizens who are learning about a more frugal DIY ethic. Both the New York Times and National Public Radio have recently reported on this phenomenon.

Caveat lector, though. As we saw in 2003, tough economic times can also spur budget cuts, putting a strain on already-thin public and school library resources. Better-but-not-best-case-scenario, libraries will have to serve increased demand on static budgets. The FISH Bits blog, all about “creating great school and public libraries,” has some smart thoughts on how libraries can thrive during this crunch time.

gino
3/25/2009 10:20:28 PM

I thought that recession could only bring us bad news. With the recession that we are facing today more and more people are struggling on how to meet their ends. Everyone had to know that there was going to be a stimulus scam of some kind coming. It turns out there are a lot of scam websites out there, claiming they will get you extra stimulus money, and it is all bunk. They say they'll get you extra cash from the Make Work Pay Credit, or a first time homebuyer's credit, or a tax break on a new car purchase. Well, if it wasn't a phone call from your accountant, don't do it, and for the love of all things holy, do not give them any information whatsoever. The FTC, the BBB, and various state Attorneys General have issued warnings, to not participate in any offers of any sort, as they are scams, in regard to the federal stimulus. Read more on this site: http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2009/03/17/top-10-ways-increase-credit-score/.


pam_1
8/18/2008 9:42:33 PM

I'd actually like to see field trips where a bus would take a load of little kids to the public library. Get the kids library cards and even if their parents cannot take them, wouldn't it benefit kids to have a field trip to the library twice a month or so? I'd really like to see public schools implement a program where older kids read to a younger child or maybe a few younger kids ON A DAILY BASIS. It would benefit the older kids by reading out loud and it would benefit the younger child by being read to. There are too many kids today who are not being read to. I cannot for the life of me understand why this isn't being done on a daily basis. No government money would be needed. Just books. And you can get them from the library! Books can open a child's imagination and so much can be learned from books.


gina_1
8/6/2008 3:12:52 PM

Public libraries are a necessary resource for any community and I hope I never see their demise. Bookmobiles are a great way to bring libraries to the public.


kw
8/5/2008 12:31:34 PM

Growing up in Montana just above poverty level, libraries were the only way I saw books. The BookMobiles during the summer made sure literature was available to kids, even if they couldn't find transportation to the library itself. I would love to see that happen more in cities like Chicago, where I currently reside.


pam_1
8/4/2008 8:10:35 AM

A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit the San Antonio Public Library. They had a bookstore in their library on the lower level. They sold everything they no longer needed. It was amazing. What a good way to recycle. I visited on a weekday, mid day, and it was busy! books, magazines, art work, etc. I believe they also accepted donated books. I have thought since that more libraries should take note of this library and follow in their foot steps!


pete saussy
8/2/2008 8:40:19 PM

Libraries are definitely contracting something. my dictionary, The Oxter English Dictionary, Facts on File 1985 by George Stone Saussy III [me] has been showing up on amazon for .81 cents. so i'm buying them back. so it goes pete saussy