Citizens seek both traditional and new media sources from local public libraries, according to a recent survey from the Pew Research Center.
The survey of 2,252 Americans over the age of 16 revealed services they hope to see offered in the future. Among the services requested were wider uses of technology, such as apps-based access to library materials and programs, device lending services, online “ask-a-librarian” resources and digital recommendations based on individual library habits.
Of those surveyed, 34 percent said they were "very likely" to use an apps-based service, and 35 percent said they would be "very likely" to use a technology "petting zoo" to try out new devices. 33 percent said they would be "very likely" to patronize a "Redbox"-style lending machine or kiosk in the community to check out library books; 29 percent said they would be very likely to use "Amazon"-style customized book/audio/video recommendations based on individual's established preferences.
While these numbers speak to an interest in establishment of new media options, respondents also voiced support for "old school" services. 20 percent of those polled felt that future libraries should forgo more traditional print media in favor of more technologically focused workspaces, 36 percent did not wish to see their library remove books and stacks.
When asked what new services they would utilize at libraries, the majority of those polled - more than 80 percent - wished to see close coordination with local schools and free literacy programs for young children. Also requested were more comfortable spaces for reading, working and relaxing and broader selections of e-books. The public must be made aware of new programs and services, as the study found 31 percent of patrons knew “very little” or the services their libraries currently offer.
The survey also looked at present-day patron practices. Of the 53 percent of Americans who used library services in the past year, 73 percent said they were there to browse and borrow print media, while 26 percent utilized library computers or WiFi connections to access the internet. 66 percent of those individuals used digital resources for schoolwork or research, and 63 percent browsed the internet to pass the time.
For more information, visit the study's website.