Click the title of this link to go to a lead article in the Planning Commissioners Journal. The topic, once unusual, now has gained traction: libraries are becoming "important 'economic engines' of downtowns and neighborhood districts."
See the link within that story about the Hudson, Ohio library, about which the author writes, "Why in today's internet and digital age would libraries need to be larger? More importantly, why do they seem in even greater demand? What I've been finding so far .... is that in today's digital age there's even more demand for public libraries. The role of the library has also been evolving, taking on a broader range of community-related functions."
Or consider this statistic from the report itself:
"In 2006, the most recent year for which data is available, there were some 1.4 billion visits to the nation's 9,208 public libraries.
"To put library visits in perspective, consider that in 2007 the attendance at major league baseball games was 81 million and NFL football, 22 millions -- add in NCAA men's and women's basketball (43 million) and football (49 million) and the total is less than 15 percent the number of visits to public libraries."
This is a report that should find its way to the desk of every town administrator and/or city councilperson in the country.