The New York Times reports that New York City’s library use is surging during the current economic downturn. This increase in usage is turning libraries into a kind of makeshift employment center. The new denizens of the library are largely made up of job seekers, and patrons with dwindling resources. Shared computer time is being eaten up by frantic patrons looking for work and resume books are on near permanent loan. For some, the library is becoming a virtual office and base of operations as they’ve had to cancel internet service at home.
Going forward it will be interesting to watch if all kinds of libraries continue to grow in popularity. Whether for the money saving free and cheap services, or for the benefits of using but not owning, it looks like we’ve only seen the beginning of the library Renaissance.