Published Apr. 24, 2011 Bradenton Times
They’re the lone source of free computer and Internet access in most communities, allowing the unemployed to search for jobs, learn computer skills and spruce up their resumes. Millions use them to stay in touch with relatives, apply for government services or to seek health information.
Public libraries in their current form didn’t catch on in the U.S. until the 1800s, when free education for children became the norm and rapid immigration drove explosive population growth. Pittsburgh steel magnate Andrew Carnegie bankrolled construction of roughly 1,700 public libraries in the U.S. between 1881 and 1919.