Monday, January 13, 2014

The power of the public library

Librarians love public libraries. It doesn't matter if we are academic librarians, law librarians, medical librarians, data curators, catalogers, or digital preservationists. We love public libraries because, for most of us, it was our first contact with the concept of libraries and probably why we chose to go to library school in the first place. Public libraries embody our cherished ethics: access to information, the right to read, and equitable service. They are one of the few places where anyone can go to find sanctuary, improve their mind, and engage with their communities.

Public libraries are also ubiquitous. As this heat map shows, public libraries serve 96.4% of the U.S. population. There are more public libraries in America than McDonalds or Starbucks. If that statistic doesn't give you more faith in humanity, I'm not sure what will!

Every library in America mapped

I blog about this statistic not just because I love public libraries but because over the next several months, MWDL will be providing digitization and training services to public librarians who want to make their special collections and unique artifacts available online. Town by town, these local collections make up the history of our region, and MWDL is so excited to help get these local treasures digitized and on the web for all to enjoy!

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