Words by Smiley Team
Connectivity and community were something hard to come by during the throes of the pandemic, but one place has seen growth because of that, libraries.
Libraries, a staple of learning and community, are growing in popularity even as fewer people are borrowing books, according to a study from WordsRated. The study looked at 17,500 libraries across the United States over the last three decades that showed a pattern of growth deep into the digital age.
Over 174 million people in the United States are registered in a library, making up more than half the population of the country. While there has been a decline in physical visits to libraries but communities are utilizing these spaces in new ways, including community organizing and hosting classes.
In general, libraries operate as hubs for communities to connect and learn. One of the bigger examples of this is the non-profit Libraries Without Borders.
While most libraries are classified as non-profits. Libraries without Borders has a bit of a larger scale than a community library.
“Access to knowledge encourages the excercise of rights, inclusion in society and freedom for all,” Libraries Without Borders says on their website. “We have been working since 2007 to bring knowledge to those who are in need. More than a collection of books, libraries are places for personal development, creativity and freedom.
"However, they are often absent in places where populations need them most.”
This organization looks to offer all the same things that a library brings to a neighborhood but instead on a global scale. Libraries without Borders have served over 6 million people in over 50 countries, spreading that same mentality of community togetherness and free access to knowledge that libraries are known for.
“Libraries are places where the poorest and most underserved people can broaden their horizons, transform their lives and build social capital,” Libraries without Borders says.
GET INVOLVED: See how you can support Libraries without Borders through fundraising, donating or volunteering.
GO LOCAL: Your local library is likely to accept donations or volunteer – find your local library and see.