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David Lee King

Greatest Hits from Pew Internet’s Library Research – from ALAMW13



One more set of sketchy notes from ALAMW13 – this time from Lee Rainie, director, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project @lrainielibraries.pewinternet.org

Pew has done three phases of research on libraries:

  • econtent
  • library services
  • library user segmentation typology – essentially market research for libraries. Nice.

Phase 1: econtent

  • Ebooks are being read more. 16% in 2011, 23% in 2012. At the same time, reading of printed books is declining a bit – 72% in 2011, 67% in 2012.
  • 40% of Americans have either a tablet or an ebook reader. 31% have a tablet, 26% have an ebook reader
  • Readers of ebooks: currently under age 50, college educated, making 50k+, and love reading. They buy their ebooks.
  • Approximately 50% of American adults own smartphones.
  • Ebook borrowing – late 2012, a whopping 5% of Americans 16+ have borrowed ebooks from libraries in the last year.
  • Growing awareness of this service – 31% of the public
  • Yet, 57% don’t know whether this is a service they can use, including many library users.
  • Problems with borrowing process include:
    • not compatible with an ereader
    • there was a waiting list
  • Over 50% are open to library coaching/tech support with ebooks.

Phase 2: library services

  • Mega takeaway #1: people love their libraries even more for what they say about their communities than for how libraries meet personal needs
    • 91% say libraries are important to their communities
    • 6% say libraries are important to them and their families
    • People appreciate their librarians
  • Mega takeaway #2: libraries have rebranded themselves as tech hubs
    • 77% say free access to computers and the Internet is a very important service
  • Mega takeaway #3: the public wants everything equally, so library leadership will matter in setting priorities
    • African-Americans and Latinos are especially enthusiastic about library services.
  • Mega takeaway #4: the public invites you to be more Engard in knotty problems.
    • Things like involvement in iocal schools, literacy in the community, comfortable spaces, move most library services online, etc. cool.
    • Lib services online – 42% should definitely do, 34% should maybe do. Wow. That’s 76% of people wanting the library to do a whole lot more online. As in most library services. Think about that for a minute… Definitely a blog post here!
  • Mega takeaway #5: libraries have a PR problem / opportunity.
  • Mega takeaway #6 – target audiences for engagement outreach are not hard to ID
    • And there’s a large chunk of the population that simply doesn’t use the library or read books.

image by Elon University

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