From children’s story times to seniors’ retirement planning, and from pleasure reading to professional development, Fort Bend County Libraries is committed to completing the “circle of knowledge” for the information-based needs of Fort Bend County. In recognition of this commitment, Fort Bend County Libraries invites the residents of the county to join in celebration of National Library Week, April 8-14.
Libraries are part of the American dream – places for opportunity, education, lifelong learning, and free access to a world of resources and information.
Thousands of people of all ages, income levels, and backgrounds visit the library every year in search of knowledge and the chance to improve their lives and their ability to contribute productively to their communities. In 2011 alone, more than 1.9-million people visited Fort Bend County Libraries.
For every $1 invested in Fort Bend County Libraries, the public receives approximately $19 in return. The money invested in libraries is returned to the community in many ways. Literacy services, job-skill improvement assistance, and business resources help to build the economic basis of a community, while education, culture, and higher-learning opportunities attract new residents who value an informed and enlightened community in which to raise their families.
The economic struggles of recent years have found more and more people using the library in a variety of ways, including filling out job applications online, improving job skills by attending the library’s computer classes, searching multiple newspapers for job openings, and researching careers and businesses. Basic computer classes have been presented in English, Spanish, Chinese and Hindi. In addition, more than 3,100 people participated in the library’s free English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) and Basic Literacy classes in 2011.
The children of Fort Bend County borrowed 1,982,041 books from the public library last year. Assuming an average children’s book price of $36.16, the library saved local families $71,611,141 in 2011! Area teens also saved their families an astronomical amount of money when they borrowed more than 222,000 books from the library – a savings of $9,814,620, based on an average Young Adult book price of $44.21. The libraries’ free Online Homework-Help tutoring service was used more than 137,800 times by students seeking help on their studies in 2011. Based on an average cost of $35/hour for a personal tutor, these families saved $4,823,000!
“Every day, libraries in big cities and small towns help transform their communities,” says Library Director Clara Russell. “At our libraries, people of all backgrounds can come together for community meetings, lectures and programs, to do research with the assistance of a trained professional, to improve job skills, or to find homework help.”
The “virtual” portal of the libraries’ website is just as popular as the front doors of the bricks-and-mortar buildings. The past year has seen an increase in the popularity of the library’s digital audio books and eBooks that can be downloaded from home. The online homework help and databases continue to be well used by students of all ages. The databases include authoritative research information that Internet search engines such as Google or Yahoo cannot access.
Libraries provide information-delivery 24/7, using multi-faceted, multicultural, and multilingual resources, providing a bridge to the best conceivable future for many Americans. By striving to improve economic prospects and enhance the quality of life of area residents, Fort Bend County Libraries shows democracy in action. With free admission and access, the price cannot be beaten.
For more information about the Fort Bend County library system and its services, call the libraries’ Public Information Office at 281-341-2677, or visit the library’s website at www.fortbend.lib.tx.us.