As part of the May 7, 2013 briefing for National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) attendees in Washington, D.C., Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, offered an overview of the findings from recent research on how Americans view public libraries. A link to the slides from his presentation is listed above, but he cited 11 “takeaways”:
1. Libraries are appreciated. 91% of the respondents indicated the “libraries are important to their communities.” Libraries are especially appreciated by parents! 94% of parents says that “libraries are important for their children.”
2. Libraries stack up well vs. others. The only community institution or service that instills higher confidence than the local library are firefighters.
3. People like librarians. 98% of library visitors says their interactions are “very positive.”
4. Libraries have re-branded themselves as technology hubs. 77% of Americans say that free access to computers and the Internet is a “very important” service. 26% of Americans use in-library computers. Once again, parents are more likely than other adults to use library services.
5. E-book reading is growing and e-book borrowing [from the library] is just getting started. 31% of the American public now know that e-books are available from the public library.
6. People are open to even more technology at libraries. Parents are more likely than others to say that they would use new offerings from the library.
7. The public invites libraries to be more engaged in knotting problems. Better coordination with local schools and literacy programs are two highly-cited examples.
8. Libraries have a PR problem (or is that an opportunity). 31% of Americans say that they know nothing or not much at all of what their library offers.
9. There is churn is library use. Libraries must be mindful of losing current users.
10. Mothers are more likely than fathers to enagge with library services!
11. A significant number of Americans are detached from library services and this fact should not be ignored.