Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version

Spring 5-8-2023


Aleisha Stout is currently an MLIS student in the School of Information Studies at Dominican University. Aleisha works an Assistant Director over Children’s Services at the Idaho Falls Public Library in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Aleisha has worked in libraries for nearly 20 years.


In 2018, OCLC and the American Library Association revisited a 2008 survey on the perception of public libraries. Questions looked at how participants believed libraries are funded, used, and perceived. Public libraries are valued by the public, even as perceptions move away from core aspects of library services. In-person library visits and visits to library websites have declined in recent years. Strong libraries are perceived to raise property values within a community. Libraries increasingly manage social problems, such as homelessness and substance abuse. Some libraries have social workers on staff to meet patrons at the point of need. Public libraries are also dealing with unprecedented book challenges. Public libraries are valued as community spaces. Libraries are in a position to offer programs and educational opportunities that reflect community needs. The digital divide will continue to affect communities, and libraries are instrumental in providing digital access. Artificial intelligence and algorithms are an emerging area where libraries will provide guidance and empower and educate. Shifting perceptions of public libraries provide an opportunity for libraries to remain relevant and vital.