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Libraries are cool again

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American libraries, the argument goes, are in crisis. They've had their funding cut, been forced to fire staff members, and close branches across the country. But, as Pacific Standard explains, that perception isn't entirely accurate. In the face of negative headlines, American public libraries have just enjoyed their best year for more than a decade. 2013 saw 16,000 branches circulating 2.46 billion materials among 96.4 percent of the US population. The lending of children's books and materials increased 28 percent from the previous year, and an independent Pew study showed that 94 percent of people said a public library in the community increases quality of life. As Pacific Standard shows, the American library may not be dying. Instead, the prognosis is looking better than it's been for ten years.