The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has issued a new report entitled Library Services in the Digital Age, which reports the results of a survey of Americans’ attitudes toward and expectations of public libraries in our increasingly technological world. The report examines the services offered by public libraries as they attempt to balance traditional services with the needs precipitated by technology and the Internet. Here are some of the findings:
Despite widespread support for the continued existence of libraries, there is a serious lack of awareness of what libraries have to offer.
- 91% of those surveyed say the library is important to the community, but only 22% say they know about all or most of the services the library offers.
- Many focus group participants expressed that they wish they were more aware of the library’s services, but it’s not enough that events and services are promoted on the library’s website – only 22% of Americans have visited a library website in the past year.
Though libraries are putting an increasing amount of time and resources into digital technologies and services, many of the traditional library services are most important, according to survey respondents.
- At 80%, lending print books and having librarians to help find information lead the way in importance of available library services.
- 77% of those surveyed say it’s very important for libraries to offer free Internet access
- 76% find having quiet study spaces available an important service
- 74% say programs and classes for children and teens are important
The full report is available online. Happy reading!