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(WASHINGTON) — Today’s public libraries are much more than a quiet place to work or to borrow a book.

According to a new Pew study, 95 percent of Americans say libraries are important because of the opportunities and resources they provide.

The Pew Internet & American Life Project surveyed more than 6,000 Americans ages 16 and older, and found 58 percent of respondents rated library programs for adults and use of the Internet, computers and printers as either “very important” or somewhat important.”  Fifty-three percent of respondents valued the help the library offers in applying for government services, while 51 percent valued the assistance a library offered in finding and applying for a job.

Eighty percent of respondents rated books and media either “very important” or “somewhat important,” followed in descending order by librarian assistance, having a quiet, safe place, research resources, and programs for youth.

According to the study, 72 percent of all Americans 16 and older have visited a public library in person or online in the last year, or live with a family member who is an active recent user of the library.

The survey found 91 percent of respondents said they’ve never had a negative experience at the library, and 94 percent agreed that “public libraries are a welcoming, friendly place.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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