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The Power and Relevance of Libraries Takeaways from Pew Internet research Lee Rainie Director Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life.

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Presentation on theme: "The Power and Relevance of Libraries Takeaways from Pew Internet research Lee Rainie Director Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Power and Relevance of Libraries Takeaways from Pew Internet research Lee Rainie - @lrainie Director Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project Presented to: ALA May 7, 2013

2 What is Pew? Say wha’: A “fact tank”? “Tell the truth, and trust the people” -- Joseph N. Pew, Jr.

3 About our libraries research Goal: To study the changing role of public libraries and library users in the digital age Done in 3 phases – Changing state of reading – Changing mix of library services – Changing tastes of library patrons Funded by a three-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

4 11 key takeaways

5 1) Libraries are appreciated 91% say libraries are important to their communities 76% say libraries are important to them and their families Robert Dawson photography - Library Road Trip /

6 1a) Libraries are especially appreciated by parents 94% of parents say libraries are important for their children and 79% describe libraries as “very important.” 84% of these parents say a major reason they want their children to have access to libraries is that libraries help inculcate their children’s love of reading and books. 81% say a major reason is that libraries provide their children with information and resources not available at home. 71% say a major reason is that libraries are a safe place for children.

7 7 2) Libraries stack up well vs. others How confident? How important?

8 3) People like librarians 98% of “ever” library visitors say interactions are “very positive” 81% of library visitors say librarians are “very helpful” 50% of “last year” visitors got help from a librarian

9 4) Libraries have rebranded themselves as tech hubs 80% of Americans say borrowing books is a “very important” service libraries provide 80% say reference librarians are a “very important” service 77% say free access to computers and the internet is a “very important” service 76% say quiet study spaces are a “very important” service

10 4a) How people use in- library computers (26% do so) 66% of those who used the internet at a library in the past 12 months did research for school or work. 63% browsed the internet for fun or to pass the time. 54% used email. 47% got health information. 41% visited government websites or got info about gov services. 36% looked for jobs or applied for jobs online. 35% visited social networking sites. 26% downloaded or watched online video. 16% bought a product online. 16% paid bills or did online banking. 16% took an online class completed online certification program.

11 4b) Who uses library websites

12 4c) Mobile connections now matter

13 Parents over-index on library use


15 5) E-book reading is growing; borrowing is just getting started Late 2011: 16% of American adults read an e-book in past year – now: 23% 2012: 5% of Americans 16+ have borrowed e- book from library in last year Growing awareness that this is library feature: now 31% of public

16 5a) E-reading devices spread out

17 5b) Advent of e-content spawns more reading and more reading “packages” 30% of e-content readers say they are reading more now The average reader of e- books has read 24 books (the mean number) in the past 12 months, compared with an average of 15 books by a non-e-book consumer. E-book readers read in ALL formats

18 5c) Reading is precious to parents 50% of parents of children under age 12 read to their child every day 26% do so a few times a week 58% of parents with children under 6 read with their child every day

19 6) People are open to even more tech at libraries

20 6a) African-Americans and Latinos are esp. enthusiastic

21 Parents, too


23 7) The public invites you to be more engaged in knotty problems

24 8) Libraries have a PR problem / opportunity 22% say that they know all or most of the services their libraries offer 46% say they know some of what their libraries offer 31% said they know not much or nothing at all of what their libraries offer

25 9) There is churn in library use Reasons library use INCREASED (26%) Enjoy taking their children, grandchildren26% Do research and use reference materials14% Borrow books more12% Student10% Use library computers and internet8% Have more time to read now, retired6% To save money6% Good selection and variety5% E-books, audio books, media are available5% Convenient5% Reading more now5% Library events and activities4% Good library and helpful staff3% Quiet, relaxing time, social locale2% Use for my job2% Reasons library use DECREASED (22%) Can get books, do research online and the internet is more convenient 40% Library is not as useful because my children have grown, I'm retired, I'm no longer a student 16% Too busy, no time12% Can't get to library, moved, don't know where library is 9% Prefer e-books6% Prefer to buy books or get books from friends 5% Not interested4% Health issues3% Don't read much these days3% Don't like local library or staff3% Children are too young2%

26 10) Mothers are special

27 11) There is a truly detached population out there that matters to you 20% never saw a family member use a library when they were growing up 16% have never visited a library 23% didn’t read a book last 12 months

28 How you can help us Sign up to participate in our research (and encourage your friends!): Write us: What Pew Internet should study next

29 Lee Rainie Email: Twitter: @Lrainie Kathryn Zickuhr Email: Twitter: @kzickuhr Kristen Purcell Email: Twitter: @kristenpurcell

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