February is National Library Month and the Knoxville Public Library is the best deal in town! Where else can you go to check out books, magazines, CDs, DVDs and much more for free? Where else can you go to use the computer to type a resume, check your e-mail, or do research and pay only for what you print out? In times of economic hardship, people all over the country turn to and depend on their libraries and librarians. Did you know there are now more public library buildings in the U.S. (16,592) than there are McDonalds?

2008-2009 American Library Association President Jim Rettig says, "During tough economic times, people turn to libraries for their incredible array of free resources, from computers to books, DVDs and CDs, for help with a job hunt or health information. The average annual cost to the taxpayer for access to this wide range of resources is about $31, the cost of one hardcover book. In good times or bad, libraries are a great value!"

Libraries are among the most effective of all public services, serving more than 2/3 of the public with less than 2 percent of all tax dollars. Consider that only 44 percent of the top 100 U.S. retailers accepted in-store paper applications in 2006. If people don’t have computers or Internet connections of their own, the library is the great equalizer, enabling those people to use library computers to apply for jobs.

Nationally, the average library user checks out seven books a year, but people find much more than books at the public library. They can meet with friends, attend programs, do research, and check out books, magazines, DVDs, CDs and more. During times of economic hardship, many people cut back on entertainment. Instead of spending money for entertainment they choose to check out DVDs and CDs from the library.

Americans go to school, public and academic libraries 50 percent more often than they go to the movies. Library use continues to climb. Sixty-three percent of adults in the U.S. have public library cards. Nationally, public library visits exceed 1.3 billion , and libraries circulate more items than Fed Ex ships-more than 2.1 billion books, CDs, DVDs and more.

At the Knoxville Public Library in 2008 people checked out 97,949 items. If each of those items cost $20 the total cost of the items checked out would be $1,958,980! In 2008, computers at the Knoxville Public Library were used a total of 14,149 times. Take advantage of the National Library Lover’s Month. Pick up a free bookmark and check out all the great deals at the Knoxville Public Library.

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