Materials Still Our Most Important Service – New Pew Survey

December 11, 2013

There is a new Pew Survey on library services published today that highlights what and how much Americans value about their public libraries.   There is a lot here to ponder.  Over 70% of respondents belong to “library households,” but only just a majority have visited a physical building.  (Perhaps families are assigning certain members to engage the library for other members?)  The survey interviewed over 6,000 people over 16.  Two particularly interesting findings are 80% of respondents rated “books and media” as at least somewhat important, putting materials on top of the list, and adult programming is at least somewhat important to 58%, which a PW article on the survey mentions was surprisingly close to youth programming in terms of importance for interviewees.  Also, 18-29 year olds view the library as positively as older Americans. Here is a quote from the PW article.

Among the survey’s [other] findings:

  • 95% agree that the resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed.

  • 81% say that public libraries provide many services people would have a hard time finding elsewhere.

  • The percentage of Americans who have recently visited a public library in person, has decreased, while those using a library Web site has risen.

  • Library visits are on the decrease: counting physical and web visits to libraries, 54% of Americans used a public library in the past year, down from 59% in 2012.

  • By a 55%-34% margin, respondents said public libraries have kept up with technological change.


Posted by Darren


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