Link to March 5 Wisconsin Rapids Tribune article, "Out There: Library usage up as economy heads south".
Excerpt: "I don't think the use has gone up so much in terms of borrowers," Ron [McCabe, Library Director] said. "It's more in terms of the amount of use of things here, and that has gone up very, very dramatically."
In 2008, 489,554, items were checked out -- a 17.4 percent increase over 2007.
Of course, the library isn't just for checking out books, movies or art. On-site computers and Internet get plenty of attention.
Todd Larson, 45, Rome, who was laid off by Hamerski Farms in Plover, chatted online with friends Wednesday at the library.
"We want (Internet) at home, but just can't afford it right now," he said.
The library offered 340 programs in 2007, attended by 12,731 people. Last year, 17,752 people attended 417 free library-sponsored programs -- a 39.4 percent increase.