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Can Libraries be Everything to Everyone?

Arts & Culture

Can Libraries be Everything to Everyone?

Wednesday, February 14, 2024
11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Doors at 11:15am / Lunch at 11:30am / Forum begins 12:00pm

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"Libraries are under attack right now. Books are being banned left and right in the south. We have to be resolute in the fact that we will not let folks control what we read. We are for everyone." – Felton Thomas, Jr.

Ohioans love their libraries. A recent study found Ohio ranks first nationally in library visits per capita -- and that the state has the highest public library usage rate in the U.S. as measured by the percentage of residents who have a library card. Historically, Ohio trails only New York in the number of Five-Star libraries, a yearly distinction awarded by the Library Journal, the oldest and most respected publication covering library service. Our very own Cleveland Public Library (CPL) has received four or five stars every year since 2009.

As one of our nation’s oldest democratic public spaces, libraries have become deeply integrated into our communities. For generations, they have gone beyond books and stepped in to meet a wide variety of social and civic needs—building decades of trust and leaving an indelible mark on so many of us. Yet, this growth has also deepened the debate about what the modern-day library can, or even should offer as part of its services.

As CPL celebrates its 155th anniversary, join the City Club to hear how library directors in Ohio, and across the country, have balanced the evolution of modern libraries with meeting the growing needs of the communities they serve today.

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The livestream will be available beginning at 12:00pm. Have questions? Tweet them at @TheCityClub or send a text to 330.541.5794.

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