Library Hip As Economy Suffers

Hard times have many of Connecticut's libraries counting record numbers of users.

"I've not seen this place so busy," Marian Amodeo, director of the Lucy Robbins Welles Library in Newington, said.

Over the last four months, visits are up 8 percent, she said.

The Connecticut Library Consortium noticed the boom developing last year when library usage rose 6 percent in the second half from the first half, and circulation grew by 9 percent.

"More people are coming in than ever before," Amodeo said. "This is a real community place, so people use it for all sorts of purposes," she said.

All her library's computers with Internet access were in use Wednesday, and not by students home on school vacation.

"Some people can't afford the use of Internet in their homes at this point," Amodeo said, "So they're using the public library, which has Internet access for their job searching, resume writing, things like that."

Also free at the libraries are DVDs and books, which can cost up to $30 a piece in stores.

Dianne Stone and her 8-year-old goddaughter Rachel Kane couldn't find the "Wimpy Kid" books they wanted. They've been checked out.

"I use it for reading, entertainment," Bob Baldoni, a retired Newington resident, said. "They also have many movies in here that I like to look at and it's easy."

Francine Petosa, director of the Bristol Public Library, told the Bristol Press that she is seeing increases at her library too.

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