Big-city public libraries have rarely been as popular as they are today and rarely as besieged. The hard economic times of recent years have generated increased demand for the free and varied services libraries provide, even as revenue-challenged local governments have cut back on contributions to library budgets. All of this comes at a time when libraries are being asked to perform a new and changing range of functions.
“The Library in the City: Changing Demands and a Challenging Future” looks at how Philadelphia is faring and the challenges facing urban libraries across America. It examines The Free Library of Philadelphia's operations and compares them to those of 14 other library systems.
The report finds that The Free Library, a $63.6 million system that has been weakened by budget cuts over the last few years, is struggling to keep up with this broad and growing range of demands. Other big-city library systems are struggling, too, although there are some success stories to tell.
Read the full report for detailed information on these and other findings:
The following errors were found subsequent to the release of the report. They have been corrected in the online PDF.
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