The Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, a federal agency, released a report yesterday based on the Public Library Survey of 2008. The survey showed that "Public library visits and circulations per capita increased almost 20 percent between FY1999 and FY2008, while the number of public librarians per 25,000 people has remained virtually the same during that same period..." Read more about it here.
This is no surprise to librarians. We've been doing more with less for a long time, and it's only gotten worse in this recession. I realize others have it worse--hello, auto/manufacturing workers...but this is where I live.
The bright side is, hey, we're doing something right. More people are checking out library materials, more people are using computers at libraries, more people are attending programs at libraries. Yay! In some ways the Google, the Amazon, and the Netflix help people get the information, books and entertainment they are looking for without leaving home. But it's not everything that people want, it's not within every budget, and sometimes you just want to look at the cover before you hit the button to request or buy it. And, in case you didn't know, we've got downloadable audio and video available through the UHLS system website. Plus, it's just a fun, clean, well-lit place. This morning one of the knitters at the group that meets every Thursday said, "this hour and a half go by so quickly every week." If you don't believe me, check this out.