NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED540171
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Jan
Pages: 52
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Branches of Opportunity
Giles, David
Center for an Urban Future
As more and more New Yorkers turn to digital books, Wikipedia and other online tools for information and entertainment, there is a growing sense that the age of the public library is over. But, in reality, New York City's public libraries are more essential than ever. Far from becoming obsolete, the city's three public library systems--Brooklyn, Queens and New York, which encompasses the branches in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island--have experienced a 40 percent spike in the number of people attending programs and a 59 percent increase in circulation over the past decade. Although they are often thought of as cultural institutions, the reality is that the public libraries are a key component of the city's human capital system. With roots in nearly every community across the five boroughs, New York's public libraries play a critical role in helping adults upgrade their skills and find jobs, assisting immigrants assimilate, fostering reading skills in young people and providing technology access for those who don't have a computer or an Internet connection at home. The libraries also are uniquely positioned to help the city address several economic, demographic and social challenges that will impact New York in the decades ahead. Despite all of this, New York policymakers, social service leaders and economic officials have largely failed to see the public libraries as the critical 21st century resource that they are, and the libraries themselves have only begun to make the investments that will keep them relevant in today's digital age. One way or another, New York needs to better leverage its libraries if it is to be economically competitive and remain a city of opportunity. This report takes an in-depth look at the role that New York's public libraries play in the city's economy and quality of life and examines opportunities for libraries to make even greater contributions in the years ahead. (Contains 38 endnotes.)
Center for an Urban Future. 120 Wall Street 20th Floor, New York, NY 10005. Tel: 212-479-3341; Fax: 212-344-6457; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Basic Education; Adult Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Charles H. Revson Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center for an Urban Future
Identifiers - Location: New York