Today the existence of libraries in our midst is so much taken for granted that their significance as living institutions is almost lost to us. Why are libraries important, and why will they ever be so?
Libraries contain the heritage of humanity: the record of its triumphs and failures, its intellectual, scientific, and artistic achievements, and its collective memory. They are a source of knowledge, scholarship, and wisdom.
They are an institution, withal, where the left and the right, God and the Devil, are together classified and retained, in order to teach us what to emulate and what not to repeat. Libraries are, in short, the mirror held up to the face of humankind, the diary of the human race.
Libraries are not only repositories of past human endeavor, they are instruments of civilization. They provide tools for learning, understanding, and progress. They are the wellspring of action, a laboratory of human aspiration, a window to the future. They are a source of self-renewal, intellectual growth, and hope.
In this land and everywhere on earth, they are a medium of progress, autonomy, empowerment, independence, and self-determination. They have always provided, and I would suggest always will provide, place and space for imaginative re-creation, for imaginative rebirth.
– source: Libraries and Andrew Carnegie’s Challenge
Australian Library Statistics
- 12 million people are registered public library users
- They make 100 million visits to over 1,700 public libraries each year
- Public libraries lend over 174 million items/year
- 25,000 people work in Library and Information services