There are no flying cars. We don’t have robots cleaning our homes and cooking our meals. And libraries not only still exist, but they’re among our most popular public institutions.
The dire predictions of 1980s techies about the demise of libraries turned out to be way off base. As of 2012, the United States had more public libraries than ever, with 1.5 billion visits. Wayne Wiegand explains why libraries are so popular in his article for AlterNet:
Americans love their public libraries, but why? Historical research shows reasons fit into three broad categories—for the useful information they make accessible; for the public spaces they provide that help construct community; and for the transformative potential that reading, viewing, and listening to the commonplace stories that public libraries provide in a variety of textual forms.