Libraries feel boom from bust economy

This year, however, Naylor said other factors have likely contributed to the library's successful circulation numbers.

"In this economy, it seems like people are checking out more books," he said. "I think that if we look at it and say what's logical, 'Well I can pay $30 and buy the book, or check it out free.'"

Not only have libraries become a source for entertainment during the financial crisis, but they have also become a valuable resource for employment.

The New York Library Association announced results of a survey on Monday, Feb. 9, that showed 80 percent of the libraries in New York have helped someone search for a job in the past three months.

Michael Borges, NYLA's executive director, commented on the survey results.

"As the state faces its most difficult economic crisis in decades, public library usage has rapidly increased, particularly with people seeking help in finding employment," he said.

Borges emphasized that the free services the library provides come particularly in handy in times like these.

"When folks lose jobs or cut back on spending for fear of losing their jobs, people turn to libraries for free Internet access and books, CDs, videos and literacy programs for their families. Libraries have become part of society's safety net for the neediest in our communities," he said.

Naylor said the library has been more populated with people in the past year, and they are turning, surprisingly, more toward reading material than viewing or audio materials.

"In the past few years, DVDs [usage] have not increased. In fact, the movies have actually gone down lately," Naylor said. "The reading is actually going up a lot."

In 2008, adult fiction and nonfiction were the two most popular categories in the library's circulation, Naylor said. He noted that there has been an increase in participation in the children's section's many programs, as well.


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