Initial reaction to this article: From political and advocacy standpoints, I wouldn't use this information as a centerpiece for tooting the library's horn. As some of us in Wisconsin are already aware, there are more than a few state legislators who would eagerly allow public libraries to charge for lending DVDs -- without the current stipulation that a 'free' copy also be available for checkout. And as The Fixx once sang, "One thing leads to another". (In addition, just because we have a new, i.e. downloadable, format to offer, doesn't automatically mean the end of a physical collection of discs in libraries. In fact, I still find plenty of videocassettes -- and books on tape -- on AV display shelves.)
Link to OCLC reportLink to July 25 Hartford Courant article, "Study: Libraries Top The Competition In Lending Movies".
Excerpt: The survey, released this year by OCLC, a nonprofit library co-operative and research organization, found that public libraries in the United States lend an average 2.1 million videos every day, slightly more than the 2 million that Netflix ships. The other top two competitors, Redbox and Blockbuster, come in at 1.4 million and 1.2 million respectively, according to daily averages provided by company representatives.
The findings were part of a report called "How Libraries Stack Up," which highlights the many roles that libraries play in communities, according to OCLC market analysis manager Peggy Gallagher. It also includes statistics on career assistance and Wi-Fi use — the extent of which might be surprising to the general public or even to businesses offering similar services.
Read the instructive and mostly thoughtful series of comments on this topic at The Consumerist.