Can Libraries Save Us?
There can be no doubt that America is divided. There are reports that many of us have lost friendships and family relationships due to the historic political divide among us. How can our country heal and come together again?
The reason that many of us at EveryLibrary do this work is because we fundamentally believe that within libraries there is a path forward and we know that we’re not alone in this belief. The following excerpts from an article published on Quartz validate that belief.
In a fractured society, libraries are a crucial way to fight the ravages of scorched earth partisanship, rising social discord, and educational inequalities. (TWEET THIS)
Philipp Schmidt, director of the MIT Media Lab’s Learning initiative says that “Libraries are the last safe, free, truly public space where people from all walks of life may encounter each other. Where else can anyone legitimately go and spend time without a commercial angle anymore?” (TWEET THIS)
Every $10 we raise helps us reach 1,000 more Americans who care about libraries.
As fault lines in the US deepen every day around class, race, political party, gender, and education, libraries are quietly providing the social glue that society seems to lack. (TWEET THIS) Most have reading programs and career resources. Some have media production studios and maker spaces. Millions use libraries for internet access, and to work. They are a first stop for immigrants, a place for parents to introduce their kids to reading—an essential gateway to learning—and where the socially isolated go for human contact. (TWEET THIS) They welcome the poor and the homeless.
“The library is quietly one of the places that is saving democracy,” says Tony Marx, president of the New York Public Library. If that sounds like self-serving hyperbole, consider: more people visited the New York Public Library in 2017 (around 17 million) than all museum visits and sporting events in the city combined. (TWEET THIS) In 2017, more than 1 million people attended the city’s early literacy programs; in 2018, enrollment in its English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) was at 15,586, up 100% from four years ago, and 523% from 2011.
In fact, Pew Research Data shows people trust their libraries. In a 2016 survey, almost two-thirds of 1,601 respondents (66%) said the closing of their local public library would have a major impact on their community. (TWEET THIS) In addition, 69% said that libraries contribute “a lot” to their communities in providing a safe place for people to hang out or spend time, while 58% say libraries are good at opening up educational opportunities for people of all ages.
Sign the pledge to vote for libraries in 2020 and join thousands of Americans who care about libraries.
And libraries have broad appeal across generations: In the fall of 2016, 53% of Millennials (those ages 18 to 35 at the time) said they had used a library or bookmobile in the previous 12 months, according to Pew data. That compares with 45% of Gen Xers, 43% of Baby Boomers and 36% of those in the Silent Generation.
And in an age of hyper-partisanship, they have no political affiliation, and by design offer diverse ideas that cover the spectrum of history, time, genre, gender and race. (TWEET THIS) Libraries truly have the power to help heal America and bring us back together as a nation undivided.