Are Public Libraries Becoming A Thing Of The Past?

The number of people visiting a library at least once a year has dropped by 25% since records began in 2005-06, as the the number of libraries has declined by 9% between 2005 and 2012. Source: Here

As a mother of four boys and home school teacher for the past six years, I find the statistics alarming.

I first noticed the trend back in 2008. I was outside the public library. I was not alone. I had a kid or two with me, but there were also swarms of people. I’d have to say, about twenty or thirty, college age and older. All of us were waiting for the doors to open. I was impressed. I remarked to my son how wonderful it was that so many people were willing to wait to get into the library on a lovely Tuesday morning.

As soon as the doors were opened, the throng pressed inside ahead of us. I thought it was weird that everyone seemed so anxious. It wasn’t raining. There were no book signings or readings going on that day. When I passed the book drop at the entrance and made my way through the front, I saw what all the people were gunning for.


All of the people who had me so impressed were now disappointing me. I’m not judging anyone who goes simply for the computers, I’m stating that at that time, I had just finished bragging to my kid about the importance of books and how everyone around us must realize that. See, I go to the library to check out books to read. I often use the computers myself, but only the ones that will help me find the books I’m looking for or to reserve and request ones they don’t have.

I recently read, in several places, that some authors and publishers do not want libraries to carry their books. (One of those places is here) Some feel that checking out books instead of buying them dents sales. And I suppose that is true, if you’re only looking at monetary margins. There isn’t much income in Indie publishing unless you’re a best-seller and even in traditional publishing the margin is only slightly higher.

When my book comes out–ironically, it will be available as an ebook, unless demands for print picks up– but I want my book at my local library. I want it in libraries across the state. Better yet, the country. Because I know how profound an influence a few hundred pages can be. So much life and knowledge can be gleaned from just one sentence!

When I read things in articles like these:

Library Visits Down Again as Closures Continue

State Funding For Many Public Libraries On Decline

Public Libraries: Checked Out

And hear from the women who work at my children’s schools that the state of California provides ZERO dollars for library books–that the funding has to be taken from their paper budgets!–it infuriates me. Really? They have to choose between printing worksheets and inspiring minds.

It’s hypocrisy that we, as parents, as teachers, and especially as Politicians, as human beings who know how to read, can tell the next generation that education is paramount. Learning is important! And we don’t  not back it up by providing basic funding for library books.

That’s insane.

So, here is what I am asking. I want all of you, myself included, to take whatever steps you need to, whether your book is in print or, like mine, digital, to request that your local libraries carry your books. Donate a copy. Donate copies of books that you no longer read. (You can do this at school libraries, too, so long as the content is age appropriate)

See, we can’t do anything about the big publishing companies that want to keep their literature from the masses to maintain profit margins. But we can ask that our libraries carry our books. We want to be read and libraries are full of people. Some of whom, are there to read.

Two birds. One stone.


The greatest gift we can give to the next generation is the love of reading. It keeps them off the video games, it activates their minds and takes them to places that you and I could never afford to take them otherwise. It improves their memory and makes them more intelligent. (Find proof here)

That’s my little rant. I’d love to hear what you think in the comment section below!


5 thoughts on “Are Public Libraries Becoming A Thing Of The Past?

  1. laace

    I have to disagree with you. I just lost my job as a library assistant after 13 yrs. In the library I worked, your donated books will be put out for sale or given away as a donation. Only the most popular authors, or books are already purchased by the library. Patrons come in with their e-readers to learn how to get free e-books on them. Even the patrons who did come in for computer use now have access to the internet with their tablets or phones. Patrons are dwindling. This is the digital age. There is no going back.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I truly agree with your statements about… Books are being replaced by Kindle applications on Ipads and public libraries in decline..
    Something is changing .. And I am pro changes but really believe that some legacies must be preserved …

    Best wishes, Aquileana

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Margot Kinberg

    I couldn’t possibly agree more about the value of public libraries. Anything we can do to support them is a priceless public service.

    Liked by 1 person

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