The University of the Public Library

Ditto. Ditto. Ditto. As a high school teacher in a large suburban area of Los Angeles, many of my students only have evening access to the internet and our online assignments at the local libraries. Yes, in this day and age, there are still people who cannot afford internet connectivity at home. Plus my students use the local library to gain access to books that are either already checked out or not carried in our school library. Local libraries help out with summer reading programs and often offer opportunities for older students to tutor younger students. Libraries perform a vital function to the student community for sure, but to the whole community on many other fronts. I still have and use a library card–mostly for pleasure reading, but at times to find access to books that I may consider buying for my profession. I go to the library to vote in local elections or to have public meetings with our elected officials. The library is a cultural center to any community and should be supported, maintained, and updated regularly.

N.V. Binder

I am a librarian at a small public library in rural Florida. While there is a lot to love about my community, many of my patrons face the ills of rural poverty: outdated infrastructure, inadequate schools, a lack of access to computers and high-speed Internet, and insufficient transportation. Under these circumstances, the public library isn’t just a “nice thing to have”–it’s a lifeline to community and social services, as well as the many benefits of access to technology.

While the library’s core mission is still to provide access to books and a place for free expression, providing access to high-speed Internet has become increasingly important. Far from reducing the need for libraries, the Internet has made libraries more valuable in communities like mine. People now use public computers and Internet to access job training, social services, and even healthcare, often with the assistance of library staff.

The library building…

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