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In this report on the State of America’s Libraries in 2006, the American Library Association found that:
• Public, school and university libraries are flourishing, both in traditional ways and in the still-exploding universe of the Internet. Library use is up nationwide among all types of library users, continuing a decade-long trend. Almost 1.8 billion visitors checked out more than 2 billion items last year at everything from one-room rural outposts to spectacular facilities such as Seattle’s new Central Library, which attracts thousands of patrons — and tourists — daily.
• Investment in e-books at academic and research libraries rose an astonishing 68
percent from 2002 to 2004, the most recent year for which federal data are available.
• Public libraries remain on the forefront in delivering new programs to their customers while still providing the “nuts-and-bolts” services that people need to lead full lives — for example, the tools to conduct a job search, write a résumé or learn new work skills. Even with the rapid growth of all of these services, people are going to their public library to check out or read books in record numbers.
• The public expressed its continuing strong support for public libraries in 2006 in positive votes on library funding referenda and other local ballot measures.
• Despite a growing body of research that links school libraries and student
achievement, school library media centers were hard hit by funding cuts in the past year.