The Pew Research Center has become a mainstay for detailed data on how Americans use technology and the internet. One of the many areas of focus for Pew’s studies continues to be libraries, specifically how the public interacts and engages with them. A new report, released to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the world wide web, took a look at how Americans consume the technology resources that are available from their local public libraries.
In this latest report, the organization uncovered perceptions on technology use especially, and found that a growing number of patrons are encouraged by the abundance of technology options for patrons. The days of the “newfangled” desktop computer that replaced the card catalog are gone; patrons now seek out fully stocked computer labs, online learning opportunities, touch screen interfaces, and more.
According to the survey report, “Libraries loom large in the public imagination, and are generally viewed very positively: 90% of Americans ages 16 and older say that the closing of their local public library would have an impact on their community. This means that many people have a stake in the future of libraries, and as the digital age advances, there is much discussion about where they are headed.
“In recent years, public libraries have continued to add new technologies and formats to their holdings, with the goal of providing patrons resources in whatever form they prefer. Many libraries have also expanded into community centers, serving as unique gathering places in their towns and cities. Today, they offer many events and services, and are experimenting with providing the next generation of ‘expensive and scarce’ resources, from 3-D printers to recording studios.”
The findings of the report can be accessed HERE via the Pew Research Center’s website. This is the third and final report in a three-part series on how consumers perceive libraries and place worth on them.