library: I am a former Children’s Librarian and I would have to say that technology has provided new innovative ways to deliver programming, I think that libraries must reexamine their roles in providing quality programming and its contributions to overrall education. Plus, libraries must realize that the family dynamics have changed since programming was introduced. Many parents work late and their time is linted when it comes to spending quality time with their children.
Public library programming
Before we saw the reference is definitely on a decline in public libraries. Here we see some upwards trends in library programming. On a per capita (or per 5000 in this case) we can see that library programming in on the rise. However, one again, when we normalize we see that for general library programming things have actually remained steady, and for children’s programming we actually see a decline in attendance.
A note on the children’s programming, it could be possible that less people are going to children’s programming or the data could also be argued to show that the number of programs offered is not keeping up with the number of visitors. It’s impossible from the data alone to know the causal relationship: are children’s programs growing at a slower rate because there’s low attendance, or is attendance caped because there aren’t enough programs. It would certainly be a worthwhile experiment to observe the response to having more children’s programs.
Over all what we’ve seen with public libraries is that we have people visiting public libraries more frequently, using reference less, and everything else about the same.
Data (and Chart) Source: IMLS Public Survey Fiscal Year 2009