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Pew offers new Libraries page

I was about to write an alert about several of the interesting new Pew Internet & American Life Project studies, when I discovered that it is now easier to discover those studies.

The Pew Project recently added a Libraries page to their site, gathering research especially relevant to our community, as well as updates from the Pew Project blog, Libraries in the Digital Age, as well as slides and videos from Pew Project presentations.

As for those studies, several of the newer studies have dramatic implications for our practice.

Mobile Connections to Libraries (12/31/12)

The research examined both website and mobile interactions with public libraries.  They demonstrate data that many of the studies that look at library use do not–that library use includes online library use.  I hope this serves to increase understanding that a library’s reach and value extends beyond its building(s).

We need to demonstrate the same value for our school and academic libraries.  And we need to meet the needs of our communities wherever they need us.

Among the findings:

Some 13% of those ages 16 and older have visited library websites or otherwise accessed library services by mobile device . . .

Those who are most likely to have connected to a library site include parents of minor children, women, and those with at least some college education.

In all, the Pew Internet Project survey finds that 39% of Americans ages 16 and older have gone to a library website at one time or another and, of them, 64% visited a library site in the previous 12 months. That translates into 25% of all Americans ages 16+ who visited a library website in the past year.

Those who are most likely to have visited library websites are parents of minors, women, those with college educations, those under age 50, and people living in households earning $75,000 or more.

E-book Reading Jumps; Print Book Reading Declines (12/27/12) validates the need to invest in ebook formats to meet the growing interest of our communities and to continue to work toward ebook lending models that work for libraries.

The population of e-book readers is growing. In the past year, the number of those who read e-books increased from 16% of all Americans ages 16 and older to 23%. At the same time, the number of those who read printed books in the previous 12 months fell from 72% of the population ages 16 and older to 67%.

Overall, the number of book readers in late 2012 was 75% of the population ages 16 and older, a small and statistically insignificant decline from 78% in late 2011.

The move toward e-book reading coincides with an increase in ownership of electronic book reading devices. In all, the number of owners of either a tablet computer or e-book reading device such as a Kindle or Nook grew from 18% in late 2011 to 33% in late 2012. As of November 2012, some 25% of Americans ages 16 and older own tablet computers such as iPads or Kindle Fires, up from 10% who owned tablets in late 2011. And in late 2012 19% of Americans ages 16 and older own e-book reading devices such as Kindles and Nooks, compared with 10% who owned such devices at the same time last year.

Internet access at libraries (12/28/12) shares that libraries play a critical role in providing equitable access.

African-Americans and Latinos were more likely than whites to access the internet at their local library, as were parents of minor children, those under age 50, and those with some college experience . . .

Some 77% of all those ages 16 and older said it was very important for libraries to offer free access to computers and the internet to the community and another 18% said it was somewhat important. Just 2% said it was not too important and another 2% said it was not important at all.

Younger Americans’ Reading and Library Habits (10/23/12) points again to opportunities to engage young adult readers on the mobile devices they favor.

More than eight in ten Americans between the ages of 16 and 29 read a book in the past year, and six in ten used their local public library. At the youngest end of the spectrum, high schoolers in their late teens (ages 16-17) and college-aged young adults (ages 18-24) are especially likely to have read a book or used the library in the past 12 months. And although their library usage patterns may often be influenced by the requirements of school assignments, their interest in the possibilities of mobile technology may also point the way toward opportunities of further engagement with libraries later in life.

Among Americans who read e-books, those under age 30 are more likely to read their e-books on a cell phone (41%) or computer (55%) . . .

Overall, 47% of younger Americans read long-form e-content such as books, magazines or newspaper . . .

Many of these young readers do not know they can borrow an e-book from a library, and a majority of them express the wish they could do so on pre-loaded e-readers.

There’s so much more on Pew’s new Libraries page.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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