You are here

  • Faced with a large digital divide, high unemployment, and increasingly limited access to opportunity, our libraries are in danger just when we need them most.

    Public libraries have been the backbone of American democracy since the founding of the country, when they first began to develop and spread. By providing information access to all citizens, libraries help develop and maintain an informed public.


    While some believe that the internet and technology have made libraries less important, the issue of information access is more important than ever. While the internet provides a wonderful source of information, access is far from equal creating a digital divide. The New Orleans Public Library and is the sole source of computer and internet access for many citizens. For those looking for work the library is especially vital. They can get help from trained staff with creating resumes and job searches. For others the library is a place to learn new technologies, whether through courses or hands-on learning.

    The library offers useful technology for all citizens. The entire catalog can be searched online, and the library provides access to otherwise exclusive online databases and resources. E-books can be checked out online, making the library even more convenient.

    Libraries are improved, not make replaced, by technology.

    Libraries have something to offer everyone too. From architecture to genealogy records, the library has a wide array of cultural offerings. We are currently working hard to expand our services through partnerships with other local organizations such as the YMCA.

    The library serves more people than any other education or cultural institution in the city.

    But most of all the library is a center for continued education. Whether through courses or self-guided explorations, people come to the library to learn. The library's programming compliments and enhances the local schools. Our collections provides adults with information not available online. Our authors and speakers bring in a new perspective.

    Although the library receives limited government funding, it relies the on the support of generous donors like you to ensure future success.

    Literacy, whether adult, cultural, scientific, or financial, is absolutely necessary for everyone. Without it no one can make informed decisions or contribute to society. This is why the NOPLF has made literacy its top priority for the next 10 years.

    Please help support the library by making a contribution today!

    As of the last major literacy and academic surveys:

    • 44% of New Orleans adults are functionally illiterate, compared to 23% nation-wide.
    • 77% of 4th grade students in New Orleans had less than proficient reading skills.
    • 66% of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare.
    • Only 22% of these same children will be able to catch up.
    • Investing in children is one of, if not the most cost effective ways to invest in human capital
    • I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.

      - Carl Sagan

      I grew up going to the New Orleans Public Library. It was my temple, my refuge, my university, my haven. From aged six to eighteen, I never saw or entered a bookstore, but the New Orleans Public Library brought the world to me and brought me into the wide world. I’d spend hours there after school and on weekends, browsing marvelous hardcover books on all topics including archeology, history, music, science, ghost stories, science fiction, current events. Looking it up in the library was a supreme pleasure, and I will never forget those tranquil hours in the sun drenched reading rooms, or in the dusty quiet of the stacks when I could sink into a book that fed my curiosity and my capacity to dream.

      - Anne Rice

      There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.

      - Andrew Carnegie

      When I read about the way in which library funds are being cut and cut, I can only think that American society has found one more way to destroy itself.

      - Isaac Asimov

      Come, and take choice of all my library, and so beguile thy sorrow.

      - William Shakespeare