Interesting times for libraries; see the full article for more details
In the fast-paced, instant message, Internet era, public libraries have often struggled for attention from patrons. But with the economy sputtering, unemployment rising, and no relief in sight, Massachusetts libraries, long the victim of budget cuts, are busier than ever before, said Robert Maier, director of the state Board of Library Commissioners.
Attendance is surging. Check-out rates are soaring. At some libraries, circulation - the number of items checked out in a given month - is up as much as 33 percent since last summer. And for the unemployed, libraries have become something like an office, with computers, Internet access, and even classes that teach how to write a resume and peddle it online. In a tough time, it seems, people are returning to a place where whispering trumps shouting and no credit card is necessary. At the library, just about everything is free.