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Do We Need Public Libraries in the Age of the Internet? Thought-provoking Conversations on It's A Question of Balance with Ruth Copland

What is the role of the public library in society today? Thomas Jefferson in 1809 wrote “I have often thought that nothing would do more extensive good at small expense than the establishment of a small circulating library in every county”, yet funding of libraries is constantly under attack in budget cuts. Funding has seriously declined in recent years even though 90% of Americans say the closing of their local public library would impact their community*.

Ruth Copland gets opinions for her Out and About feature on the street. To listen click here Do We need Public Libraries? | It's A Question of Balance

If you enjoy this topic on public libraries, tune in next week March 2nd 8-9 PM to hear Ruth Copland's in-depth interview with Hollywood actor, writer and director Emilio Estevez. They talk about his highly engaging and dramatic new film 'The Public' which chronicles a stand-off between the police and the homeless in a public library, as well as about his life and film-making art.

Do we still need public libraries? Publishers are ambivalent or even hostile about libraries fearing reduced book sales. With their core mission of promoting reading, however, do libraries create new readers (and thus new purchasers)? 82% of Americans believe libraries should provide free literacy programs to young children*, which may include traditional reading, writing and comprehension as well as technology and new media literacies. Is this a good use of public money or should parents be responsible for providing these skills? Many people have home access to the internet for research and e-books but does this replace the cultural and intellectual experience of the library and its role as a vibrant community center? Is the library more than a repository of books? Libraries now provide free access to the internet and computers – is this as fundamental a right to information as the original intent of libraries providing access to books (and thus knowledge) for all people regardless of socio-economic standing? What do you think? Listen Saturday 8-9 PM!

For more info and to listen to past shows visit www.itsaquestionofbalance.com 

*Pew Research Center.

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