When did you last go to the library? If you immediately conjure up images of school days or spending your life in the library during exam time at university, you may be surprised at just how influential libraries are in modern-day community life. While many of us think about exchanging and renting books, libraries offer so much more.
Going to the library today opens you up to a host of experiences and benefits. Firstly, this is a safe, secure place to meet friends or to team up with fellow students or colleagues if you’re working on a joint project. More than 70% of people feel their local library is important to their family. Secondly, the library promotes engagement, encouraging individuals to be part of community life and enabling people to get involved or find out more about subjects that impact everyone, for example, politics.
Today, libraries also offer practical advice, which is beneficial for adults of all ages. You can access information about community services or national programmes that are relevant to you, taking advantage of the expertise of library staff to help you make decisions and understand your rights and entitlements. There are schemes to help you find employment and housing, for example. More than 80% of people said that they have accessed services at the library that they would otherwise struggle to find.
We’re often encouraged to fulfill our potential, and libraries play an influential role in providing the resources and tools we need to achieve goals. Almost 50% of library visitors have a specific aim in mind, with common reasons to visit including work projects, business development and working on creative hobbies. Libraries are also brilliant for children, with many running literacy programmes for kids, as well as storytime sessions and educational events.
For many people, libraries also offer a means of staying connected. More than 70% of public libraries are the only free Internet source in the community.
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