Wisconsin libraries adapting to changing media technology

Wisconsin libraries adapting to changing media technology

MADISON (WKOW) — Tana Elias has been visiting the library since she was a child. Her grandmother, a children’s book writer, taught her to love books.

“She really instilled in me the interest in reading and writing and the value of education,” she said.

For the past 25 years, Tana has worked in local public libraries. She said she came to Madison initially to attend library school, then began her career as a library page.

“If you ask people who work in libraries what attracts them to it, many of them would say ‘I love to read.’ That’s definitely the case for me.”

People like Elias are committed to the library. But a new report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum found that with a changing media landscape, fewer people are going to them.

Madison’s circulation dropped almost 35 percent in nine years. But the study also found the county’s e-content use rose 52 percent in three years.

In some Wisconsin libraries, Wifi usage and program attendance more than doubled.

Elias says it’s because the library is more than just a place to get books.

“Public libraries are one of the few spaces in our country where people can come for free and they can use our resources for free. They can use the space for free. The library is really a place for everybody,” said Elias.

Programs teaching people to read and use the computer make the library a place to come together and learn something.

The Pinney Library in Madison is moving to a larger location to accommodate more group programs. It closes Sunday and will re-open March 12.

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