McDonald's vs. Public Library

There are 14,000 McDonald's and 11,000 Starbucks around the country, but you know who's got them trumped? Libraries. There are more public libraries (about 17,000) in the United States than the largest fast-food franchise.

It may surprise you, but libraries reach 96.4 percent of the US population, as evident in this map by Justin Grimes (@justgrimes) over at The Atlantic Cities:

“There’s always that joke that there’s a Starbucks on every corner," says Justin Grimes, a statistician with the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington. "But when you really think about it, there’s a public library wherever you go, whether it’s in New York City or some place in rural Montana. Very few communities are not touched by a public library.”

And to make things better, there are 35,000 museums, zoos, arboretums, historical societies, art galleries, and aquariums to feed your brain. So take heart, Americans, our society isn't going to hell in a handbasket just yet (though think of how much more popular libraries could be if we can just have Starbucks inside them!)

Emily Badger of The Atlantic Cities has more: Link | Interactive map over at CartoDB

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