All Hail the Library Card

We've said it over and over again: public libraries may be under pressure to keep up with technology, but the digital age has only brought more traffic through their doors.

A recent article in Parade about a rural yet busy Arizona library confirms our statement:

“Contrary to what many predicted, the digital age has not rendered the nation's 16,671 libraries obsolete. Instead, it's brought a pulsing new energy as patrons use the free computers and Internet access to research term papers, look for jobs, updated Facebook pages, and more.

In January 2009 (the latest date for which figures are available), over 25 million Americans reported visiting their libraries more than 20 times in the previous year, a 23 percent increase from 2006.”

Even more astounding is the fact that almost 60 percent of the population--167 million individuals in 2008--are library card holders in the U.S., according to a report (PDF) conducted by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

If only this often-too-silent majority would take the lesson of this cartoon and attest to the value of that one little card (less expensive than a mobile device and never obsolete), we might see more support for these valiant institutions.

library card comic