Pew has done three phases of research on libraries:
- 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