But thankfully, every coin has another side.
According to the Gale blog post, Why Libraries Matter, "Ninety-five percent of Americans believe that public libraries play an important role in helping people live more successful lives. Students who visit their college libraries even once a semester are much more likely to return to school the following semester than those who do not. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 'the vast majority of readers aged 16-29 have read a print book in the last year.' And 60 percent of Americans under the age of 30 have used a library within the last 12 months."
With these staggering statistics, it's hard to see why libraries' budgets are getting cut short – or, in some cases, eliminated all together. But thanks to Gale's new online library community, My Library Story, library workers and patrons are able to share their reasons for loving libraries. Perhaps more importantly, the website also allows library supporters to connect with stakeholders who are responsible for libraries' funding and thus, their future.
What's even more remarkable about this online community, is that for every post submitted, Gale is donating $1 to an advertising fund that will be used to promote libraries via mainstream media during National Library Week in April of 2015.
Libraries of all kinds are fundamental to the well-being of the communities they serve, and I'm not saying that should exempt them from being challenged by the funding cuts plaguing many other organizations. But My Library Story is just what libraries need: an opportunity to strengthen their grassroots, innovate their marketing efforts and ultimately help prolong their services.
Please join me in sharing your library story to help libraries keep their doors (and books) open.