When is the last time you went to the public library? So it shouldn’t surprise you that there has been a significant decrease in the number of adults who engage with public libraries across all demographic groups. The Bookseller brought this news to us in their article, “Adult library usage falls ‘significantly’ across all groups.

A report on public library engagement comissioned by the British government department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has revealed that 33.4 percent of adults had visited a public library in the year April 2015 to March 2016, down from 33.9 percent a year earlier, and down from 48.2 percent in 2005/06.

In America, only 78 percent of Americans say they’ve been to a local public library ever. This came from a Pew Research study, which also revealed in the 12 months prior to the survey only 44 percent of Americans visited a local library or bookmobile. This was down from 53 percent three years earlier.

Many theorists propose technology was the source of the fatal blow to libraries, while others stand firm in believing funding is the culprit. The interest in libraries seem to not have decreased. In 2013, 90 percent of Americans said a local library closing would have an impact on their community, with almost two-thirds saying that impact would be major. A nearly identical rate reported the same thing the following year. However, reports show if libraries receive more public funds, more people use them. And if governments invest less in its libraries (as they have since 2009), fewer people visit—though the drop in visits from disinvestment isn’t as strong as the rise from investment would be.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.