Library Attendance Has Dropped in the Last Year: Pew

By Dianna Dilworth 

While most people in the United States think that libraries are an important part of the community, less Americans are visiting libraries than three years ago, according to a new report from Pew Research Center.

The survey found that 65 percent of U.S. citizens ages 16 and older say that closing their local public library would have a major impact on their community. Still less people are actually using the facilities.

In fact, only 46 percent of all Americans ages 16 and over visited a library or a bookmobile in- person in the last year. This figure is down from the 48 percent of people who reported visiting a library back in 2013, and down 53 percent from those surveyed in 2012. Using a library’s digital services is not the reason for the physical absence. According to the report, 22 percent of people 16 and older have used library websites in the past year, down from 30 percent in 2013 and 25 percent in 2012. The report also revealed that in the last year, 27 percent of people who have visited a public library have used its computers, internet connection or Wi-Fi signal in the last year, down slightly from 31 percent in 2012.