Friday, August 8, 2014

Is the Library Dead?

One way to keep books alive is to visit the library.  The more people that visit the library, the better the world is.  When the library’s resources are used it means minds are expanding, knowledge is being consumed, and ideas are being shared.  

Unfortunately, Americans are not running to the library.

Now, you might say that people have a library in their homes – on their tablets and smartphones.  Bookstores sell so many different titles that they may exceed the collection of a small library, so why go to a library?

For one, it’s free.

Two, because of the librarian.  The Internet doesn’t have a librarian.  Google search hasn’t replaced an educated and experienced human who can tend to your inquisitive needs.

Three, because older or unique collections not available in stores or online can be found in the library. 

Four, because of databases and research materials not available online or in stores, or if they are, they cost thousands of dollars.

Five, it’s an excellent environment to nurture learning and for a community to come together.

But, according to a Pew Research Center survey in 2013, less than one in two Americans even stepped foot in a library in the past year.

Libraries have to scrape by for funding, begging donors and the government to keep them alive.  Meanwhile, Americans have forgotten to embrace the library the way it sometimes forgets its senior citizens.  Libraries are a treasure to be adored.

Not surprisingly, the adults that tend to go to the library are the ones with kids.  People ages 30-49 went to the library – or 52% of them went at least once last year, likely accompanying a child.  Some 48% of 18-29 year olds went at least once, but that includes college and graduate students who live in the library.  Only 46% of 50-64-year-olds stepped inside the library a year ago and a paltry 39% of those 65 and older went, but that may be due to health reasons.

Of those who do use the library, I hope they get good use out of it.  The library appears to be our secret treasure.  Publishing should do what it can to preserve the library system.  Even though libraries may seemingly compete with publishers (libraries give away what publishers sell), they are great customers.  They buy books, don’t return them, and provide a showcase for people who read and then tell other potential paying customers about a book.

Libraries are far from dead, but they sure could use some company.  Remember to visit and support your local library.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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