Library users on the rise with tough economy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Library users on the rise with tough economy

By Lauren Squires

DUBUQUE (KWWL) - As the economy continues to fall, city budgets across the nation are crunching to make ends meet. Some cities are eliminating library funds. And at the same time more and more people are checking out the free services at the library.

Romance, Western, Science Fiction and books from A to Z. The Carnegie Stout Library in Dubuque has it all.

"We have a robust business in non print material. DVD's, online databases, downloadable audio, downloadable video," said Susan Heinricks, Library Director

And it's those services that have people checking in to the library.

"We've had a steady increase in users; in vistors coming to the library as well as items checked out," said Heinricks.

A 4% increase in vistors, 6% increase in items check out. But perhaps the most popular place: the DVD racks and the computer lab. Among the popular visitors, the unemployed, using the internet to apply for jobs.

"Now this person's coming into the library, using computers, readying newspapers, applying online and using resources that the library has," said Heinricks.

Andrew Searles also visits two to three times a week.

"I like looking in DVD reading novels," said Searles.

But Searles also uses the internet. Checking out a laptop to surf the web.

"It's a peaceful and quiet atmosphere; sitting here without being bothered," said Searles

He, like man others, says checking out books at the library is economical.

"You can buy a bestseller and read it in two days but you can get it from the library and return it and start on another one for free," said Heinricks.

And in a time where nothing is free, more and more people are checking in, as the economy changes.

The Dubuque City Budget has no plan to cut funds. In fact they are just beginning a year long renovation project.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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