Atlanta Journal Constition's Op-Ed Page focused on the changing roles of libraries as the economy falters and e-books and other electronic media gather steam. One of the articles was on Gwinnett County Public Library's challenges as they find their budget cut 15% by their county commissioners. The Gwinnett County Library is one of the best I have ever used, and it is very frustrating that its commissioners have failed to recognize the value of its services. (The GC library system has taken it all in stride, however, and is busy looking for new ways to raise money and stretch its existing budget to cover as much as possible - showing a flexibility that demonstrates why it is such a good library system.)
The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library system has been very lucky thus far - Fulton County commissioners have done the right thing and recognized that libraries become even more important to patrons in times of need. The library provides so many services free of charge: internet access, programs on health, job searching, resume writing, etc., not to mention access to all the knowledge and entertainment contained in the hundreds of thousands of books on its shelves (and in its ebook catalog).
Kudos to our commissioners for standing behind Fulton libraries - your support is definitely appreciated!
Oh, and the value of those 47 million book checkouts, plus the 13.5 billion computer sessions, and the programs attended by 1.4 million children?
Best of all, Georgia libraries only had to spend $188 million to get those $1.3 billion in benefits to their patrons - nice return on the investment!