As the economy lightened wallets last year, people in search of jobs and entertainment turned to a long-lost concept called a library, reports the Washington Post, spiking DC-area circulation by 23% in the last half of 2008. And although budget cuts are hitting libraries hard, they're still finding ways to go digital.
Foiling naysayers who predicted that the Internet would spell doom for old-fashioned buildings full of books, libraries have reached a record-high 68% of Americans. Drawing their business by offering cafes, DVD rentals, e-books, and podcast downloads, libraries are also turning toward community building, offering resume-writing workshops and babysitting courses. And, of course, they still let you borrow books. Um, free.