In December, we shared the news that Los Angeles had joined Chicago and San Francisco in eliminating late fees in city libraries. This change will have a big impact, especially considering new research that shows visiting libraries is still the most common cultural activity for Americans.
Even in the digital age where reading on screens seems to be taking over, the Gallup study found Americans continue to visit libraries more than movie theaters, sporting events, concerts, amusement parks, or zoos. The average American makes 10.5 trips to the library each year.
The study also found that women are twice as likely to visit libraries than their male counterparts and adults between the ages of 18 and 29 used the library most. This is likely due to student reliance on research resources.
The popularity of libraries shouldn’t be surprising. With no membership fees, they are accessible to everyone and appeal to all age ranges. They also offer extensive resources beyond just books. Most public libraries also offer movies, audiobooks, internet access, and even educational courses.
Libraries are a powerful and nearly inexhaustible source of entertainment and knowledge. It is good news that even in the 21st century, these age-old community resources are still loved and used. So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t been to your local library in a while, stop by and enjoy a light read or just some peace and quiet.