Monday, November 9, 2009

Anchorage Library System Struggles to Postion Itself at the Center of Its Community

Link to November 7 Anchorage Daily News article, "Are local libraries in the process of checking out?" (via Library Link of the Day)

Library supporters are rallying. They say the situation is dire, that Anchorage's libraries are fighting for survival. They have hired consultants and are calling for a town-hall meeting this Tuesday to look at the future. They say there's high library usage. They say Anchorage is not spending as much on its libraries as other cities of similar size. They say that in the mid-1980s Anchorage had 10 library branches while today it has five, with one more in Mountain View set to open next year.

The budget cuts come at a time when libraries around the country are rethinking their role in the 21st century. National library associations are redefining libraries beyond the book depositories and lenders of the past. Modern libraries also are digital centers where information is exchanged and Internet is available to those who don't have it at home. They are community hubs where people can learn skills they need in the digital era. They are evolving beyond quiet reading spaces to bustling places of public discourse. They are striving to make information available 24-7, not just during library hours.

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