ALA: Obama’s Concern Over Closures Demonstrates Understanding of Libraries’ Role In Economy

PRESS RELEASE
Contact: Jenni Terry
Phone: 202-628-8410

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Library Association (ALA) today applauds President-elect Barack Obama for recognizing the effect library closings have on communities during a meeting with the National Governors Association.

Obama, discussing potential budget shortfalls for the 41 states represented during the meeting, cited library closures as one of the drastic measures already being taken to balance state budgets.

Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director of the ALA Washington Office, said it is critical for governors and members of Congress to understand how public libraries can help get the economy back on its feet, and President-elect Obama’s comments today served as a reminder of the importance of keeping libraries open during this time of economic hardship.

“Public libraries stand ready to help communities recover from this economic tailspin,” Sheketoff said. “Governors and mayors need to make sure that the funding for these multi-purpose economic engines is in place.”

Currently, 73 percent of all libraries nationwide report that they are they are the only provider of free Internet access in their communities. In rural areas, the role of the public library is even more critical, as 83 percent of libraries are the only free Internet provider.

Sheketoff said libraries also help Americans get jobs by providing services such as skills assessment, resume preparation, information technology training, small-business development classes and much more.

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About Jacob Roberts

Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

4 comments

  1. It’s about TIME anyone (let alone the President-elect) in elected office address the dire need to fund public libraries. For all the talk (& that’s about all it is) coming out of the mouth of Laura Bush about the importance of libraries (& I have yet to hear her address the importance of public libraries) in communities across the nation, I’m having a hard time getting past her husband’s destructive actions against libraries, from taking funding away from public libraries (at a time when public libraries are only growing in the amount of traffic they see & its overall importance in communities) to invading the privacy of the people who frequent libraries & use the computers & reading materials they provide. I was wonderig why Laura has never been put in the hot seat & asked her about her husband’s actions & what her views are on public library funding & invasion of privacy (namely, the Patriot Act) because, unless these questions are asked, I am only led to believe that she’s just as much for destroying public libraries & invading people’s privacy as her husband, although there have been some who believe I shouldn’t punish Laura for her husband’s actions (I don’t think they’ll succeed on that issue).

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