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Library Use Up Despite Crime Hype

Remember all the hype last fall in The Register-Guard and local TV news that crime downtown was frightening people away from the Eugene public library?

Library visits were up 21 percent last year, the largest increase in five years, according to the library’s recent annual report.

Here’s a shot of the relevant table and other indicators of increasing library use from the report:

The scary library hype was part of a successful campaign to pass an exclusion ordinance by exaggerating crime downtown, which police statistics show was in reality declining. The exclusion zone allows the city to ban people from downtown without a criminal conviction and was opposed by civil liberties groups.