New (and Final) Pew Internet Report on Libraries

Pew Internet and American Life Project

From Distant Admirers to Library Lovers – and Beyond, a new report on libraries from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, was released last Thursday. The purpose of this, the final report from Pew’s public library initiative, is to create a typology of America’s engagement with public libraries. Relying on analysis of statistics gathered for previous Pew reports, researchers sorted Americans into groups describing their usage and opinion of, and connection to, public libraries.

The typology establishes nine main categories which describe the spectrum of public engagement with libraries:

  • Library Lovers
  • Information Omnivores
  • Solid Center
  • Print Traditionalists
  • Not for Me
  • Young and Restless
  • Rooted and Roadblocked
  • Distant Admirers
  • Off the Grid

The creation of this typology is a really interesting exercise. Researchers attempted to go beyond the gender, age, and socioeconomic attributes examined in previous Pew library reports to place American public library usage in context.  The typology approach plays to our propensity in libraries to sort, categorize, and organize information and data, only in this case the sorting and categorization is applied to people. The potential value of this report to the library community lies in its attempt to show, beyond demographic groups, who is using libraries and how they’re using them, as well as non-users libraries can reach out to, why they don’t use libraries, and most importantly, what we might be able to do to reach them.

Whatever the value you may see in this typology, From Distant Admirers to Library Lovers – and Beyond puts a nice bow on the three-year Pew library project. Check out previous reports in the series here.

Related posts:

Are Public Libraries Valued?
Pew Research Center Releases New Report “Parents, Children, Libraries, and Reading
New Pew Research Study on Library Services

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