American Library Association (ALA), in conjunction with the University of Maryland Center for library and Information Innovation, recently released preliminary findings on how libraries coped last year during the economic crisis. The study, printed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette yesterday, concluded that while libraries throughout the country were financially bruised by the downward economic impact, the demand for their services rose, especially among those unemployed.
The Birmingham Public Library is one example of library institutions rising to the challenge of the recession, offering electronic tools for those directly hit by the flailing economy. From the online database to the access of types of services offered, BPL remains standing on the frontlines of the federal financial struggle. Patrons are encouraged to take advantage of free computer classes, financial workshops and print resources to find employment or better themselves for other job opportunities.
Larra Clark, the ALA’s research project manager, commented, “A lot of libraries depend on local funding. … Libraries have been first responders in this financial crisis.”
She added, “But 21st century libraries can’t meet demands with a 20th century funding.”
But despite any lack or flux of funding, BPL unceasingly strives to meet the demands and needs of the community, especially those who need these services most.
For more information on the free classes, workshops or other resources offered by the BPL, you can access the BPL Web site, the Event Keeper or contact your local branches.