Shutterstock

More people use them than you may realize.

If you don't regularly (or ever) use your neighborhood library, you may be surprised to learn how many other people do. According to a new Pew survey, nearly half of Americans aged 16 or older – 48 percent if them – have visited a public library or book mobile in the past year.

Even more surprising: 90 percent of these same people say their community would be impacted if the library closed (suggesting that a lot of folks either like knowing that the library is there, even if they don't use it, or they recognize that people who do have few alternative resources). From the survey:

Similarly overwhelming majorities agreed that public libraries "play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed," in promoting literacy, and in improving the quality of life in communities. Women, minorities, the unemployed, and people from lower-income and less-educated families were also the most likely to value library services as "very important."

Pew did not ask the question that would gauge the willingness of all these people to really rally behind libraries: Would they be willing to pay higher taxes to keep them open?

Still, librarians are probably smiling.

Top image: connel/Shutterstock.com

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    This Startup Helps You Buy a House (If You Hand Over Your Airbnb Income)

    For buyers in hot real-estate markets, a new kind of mortgage offered by a company called Loftium might offer a way to purchase a home.

  2. Smoke is released into the sky at an oil refinery in Wilmington, California
    Environment

    What Will Happen to the Gulf Coast If the Oil Industry Retreats?

    Hurricane Harvey pummeled the country’s energy infrastructure, and there are few incentives in place to promote renewables.

  3. Design

    Octopuses Are Urbanists, Too

    Scientists were surprised to find that this smart and solitary species had built a cephalopod city. Why?

  4. Transportation

    The Commuter Parking Benefit Is Seriously Hurting Cities

    The federal government spends $7.6 billion a year paying people to drive to work, and it’s making traffic and pollution worse. Here’s how some cities are fighting back.

  5. Equity

    If Rent Were Affordable, The Average Household Would Save $6,200 a Year

    A new analysis points to the benefits of ending the severe affordability crisis.