More People Turning to Libraries in Tough Economic Times - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

More People Turning to Libraries in Tough Economic Times

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- What does the library have to do with the economy?  Maybe more than you think; a new study shows more people are using libraries during the recession. 

Kate Holloway, Communications Director for Mid-Columbia Libraries, says it's because more people are moving here and the economy.  She explains, "Our area is growing and residents definitely depend on their libraries in times of economic downturn.  So, our usage has stayed strong and is growing."

Holloway says from 2007 to 2008, the number of items being checked out rose 11%.  Included in that number, DVD rentals.  She says the libraries have "over 28,000 DVDs so for customers cutting back on their entertainment budget, we can help there also."

Don Creighton was browsing the movies and says he checks out certain movies here for free, that he wouldn't otherwise pay for.  He says, "I wouldn't go rent a 1940s movie but if I see one on the shelf, I'll go get it."

The number of families at reading program meetings is also rising.  Charity Cree, the Children's Librarian at the Kennewick branch, says, "A lot of parents do comment on how it is nice to have these available resources."  One dad says his kids love books that come with CDs, but those are pretty costly.  He explains, "You can buy the books and CDs online, and they're generally probably about $50, or you can just come and rent them for free here."

However, not everyone comes here just to save money.  James Landerth says, "I was coming here before the economy went down.  I love books and I like to read."

Other people like to surf the internet; computer usage is up 8%.