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Supporting public libraries still important in a digital age

By Darrell K. Brown | Posted - Apr 26th, 2016 @ 5:30pm

SALT LAKE CITY — In an age when seas of information are available with the tap of a smartphone, it’s a tough time to be a library.

A new Pew Research Center survey shows more than three-quarters of Americans think libraries serve their community’s educational needs well, but less than half have been to a library in the past year.

There are three reasons to support your local library.

First, libraries ensure that everyone — especially children — have free access to books, reading and information.

Second, libraries offer educational and professional development for anyone, but few people know about these perks. For instance, although 90 percent of American libraries offer e-book lending, according to Pew — 22 percent of those surveyed did not know about the service.

The third reason public libraries need our support is they are on the political chopping block. Library proponents say cuts in funding don’t just leave libraries in the lurch but important societal values because libraries are about freedom: The freedom to read, express ideas and learn.

Darrell K. Brown is the president of Bonneville International

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