Enter: The library.
More people have gone to the library in 2009 than any other year on record. According to the NBC Nightly News video, over 2 billion items have been checked out from libraries. No longer limited to books, the library is a provider of DVDs and free Internet. 1.3 billion visitors have gone to a library in the last year.
According to The New York Times, your local librarian is probably stressed out beyond belief. She or he is dealing with those who have recently lost their jobs and are looking for work; the increasing homeless population who comes to the library for its warmth; and has more books being checked out than ever before.
The librarian has evolved from a "hush, we're reading" whisper to an information guru. The 21st century librarian teaches students of multiple cultural backgrounds, teaches English as a second language classes, runs tutorials on computers and job seeking, and offers moral support. Part psychologist, part teacher, and full-on researcher, they have become the backbone of the community.