Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot." Charlie Chaplin (London, 1889), who was born today and went on to be the most popular movie star and producer in the world until the advent of sound.

April 13-19 is National Library Week, so let's take stock: The U.S. has more public library branches than it does McDonald's restaurants, and Americans go to their libraries more than twice as often as they go to the movies. The American Library Association found that between 1994 and 2004, the number of visits to public libraries in the U.S. increased by 61 percent. And the increase is not wholly made up of senior citizens researching family history, or frantic parents checking out DVDs for their little ones. According to a 2007 ALA poll, 68 percent of respondents between ages 18 and 24 said they had visited a library in the past year. Among the 35 to 44 age group, 74 percent have visited.

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