South Dakota Libraries Evolving Into Community Centers

Apr 9, 2018

Credit Kealey Bultena / SDPB

This is National Library Week. South Dakota's State Librarian says it's designed to demonstrate how libraries are vital to education and democracy. Statistics from the latest South Dakota Public Libraries Data Digest reveal more than 10,000 people per day visited public libraries in the state in 2016. South Dakota Public Broadcasting's Jeremy Ludemann reports.

​National Library Week runs through Saturday. State Librarian Daria Bossman says there are more than 500 libraries throughout South Dakota, including those geared to public, medical, law, and academic studies.

She says libraries in South Dakota have seen an uptick in attendance for events and Internet access. 

"They've been shifting from being facilities with just books in them to community centers with programming is shot through the roof. People coming in to use the computers, people coming in to use Wi-Fi on their own devices, people coming in to come to concerts, and talks, and all kinds of children's events, adult events, and teen programs...that has been the absolute explosion in many of our libraries, is programming," Bossman says.  

Information compiled by the State Library shows more than 300,000 people attended programs at public libraries in 2016.  Data show more than 1,700 people went every day to a library to connect to Wi-Fi. 

Bossman says the digital opportunities to continue lifelong learning are endless thanks to a half-million dollars’ worth of databases that are available at every public library in South Dakota.  

"They will just be blown away at all the resources that are there to help businesses, to help individuals, to give people news, to give people medical information...it's just astounding what is available. And, I think that will continue to explode,” she says.

This year brings the 60th Anniversary of National Library Week. Staff members from throughout the nation are honored tomorrow for National Library Workers Day. Wednesday is National Bookmobile Day.