For this blog, I decided to focus on the articles from the Hyperlinked Public Library part of Module 6. The article is titled 10 Facts About Americans and Public Libraries by Raine (2014). Below, I have listed each fact and briefly commented on them.
1. E-book reading is growing, but printed books still dominate the reading world.
This is not surprising to hear. From what I gather, the vast majority of patrons at the library I work at prefer physical books and I have never heard a patron (or anyone) mention that that only read e-books. It does seem like the interest in e-books is slowly growing though. More and more patrons ask how e-books work, and it is helpful that the libraries I work at offer workshops on the topic. In fact, I get to teach e-book and e-audio book workshops myself.
2. The rise of e-book reading is tied to the steady increase in ownership of tablet computers and e-readers.
2. It was said that 50% now own a tablet or an e-reader (in 2014), and that in the past year 32% had read e-books on their cell phones and 29% on their desktop or laptop computers. This is a growing opportunity for public libraries to serve tablet and e-reader owners offer as public libraries typically offer a variety of online content such as e-books, e-aubooks, and other content like streaming movies services. For example, at both public libraries card holders can access a movie streaming service called Kanopy, where users can stream thousands of movies for free. At one of them, card holders can check out tablets (for in library use only).
3. Americans appreciate libraries, especially for the role they play in communities.
According to the article, 90% of Americans had felt a closing of their local public library would impact their community. As someone who intends to stay in the public library field, this is nice to hear. I imagine that giving patrons the ability to have a say in the types of programs and services they receive (participatory service) will aid in maintaining the public’s positive outlook on libraries.
4. Mothers love libraries.
It was said that mothers are more likely to read to their children every day, and that they are also more likely to have a library card and to have visited a library in the past year. This is not surprising either. At the public libraries I work at, there are a lot more mothers in the than fathers. Perhaps libraries this means that libraries should reach out to father’s more. As one example, librarians can host events that cater to specifically to dad’s.
5. Access to books, media, and quiet, safe reading places top the list of favorite library services.
One of the videos in The Hyperlinked Library part of Module 6 featured an interview with someone who spoke of the Dokk1 Library in the Netherlands. The interviewee discussed how a lot of time was spent engaging with the public to get their feedback regarding the design of the library and how it should to meet the community’s needs. It was neat to hear hear how the public was involved from the very start, as opposed to the library staff asking for feedback after the library was built and after key decisions were already made. But even after a library is built, patrons should still be able to contribute feedback in the type of materials and spaces they want.
Dokk 1 Library Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvFfbjs8aZo
6. The public’s highest priorities for libraries center on kids and literacy.
Public libraries have so potential in supporting children’s literacy, especially during the summer months when kids are out of school. Every summer, San Francisco Public Library has the Summer Stride program, where children (and adults) can get activity trackers at any branch to record a minimum of 20 hours of reading, listening or learning time. Those who turn in their completed logs receive a tote bag. A big part of supporting literacy too, is maintaining close relationships with local schools. In both library systems I work for there is a big push to get children in local schools library cards.
7. Library websites are catching on.
According to the article, 44% of those ages 16 and older have used a library website at least once, which was up from 39% in 2012 and 30% had used one in the past year. I would guess that these numbers have gone up since as digital offerings (digital magazines, video streaming, etc.) have increased. The websites of libraries are always an opportunity to promote library programs, events, and services. It’s important that these websites are easy to understand and navigate.
8. Older teens and young adults are sometimes the most likely to desire new library technologies.
According to a survey of older teens/younger adults, participants said they most likely to use a kiosk similar to Redbox to check out library books or movies if they were placed around their geographic areas. This would be especially helpful in areas that lack public transportation to public libraries.
9. One challenge libraries face is simply making people aware of all the services they offer.
It seems like most people are aware of only about half (or less) of the programs and services that the library offers whenever I help someone sign up for a library card. Upon opening a library account for a patron I try to mention a few programs or services that they might not be aware of such as the free moving streaming service Kanopy. Just recently, I was told some family members about how the libraries I work at recieve all the new movies that were recently out in theaters on DVD. They didn’t realize that and had been solely paying for rentals via Redbox.
10. Library use ebbs and flows for many Americans. 26% of library patrons say their use has gone up in the past 5 years; 22% say it has gone down.
I’m curious to find out if there what kind of updated research there is on public library usage. I’d be curious to know how these numbers differ in rural areas compared to the inner cities and suburbs. A 2017 by (Geiger, 2017) found that American millennials are more likely to have visited a public library in the past year than any other adult generation.The article was listed as a recommendation at the bottom of the “10 Facts About Americans and Public Libraries” article.
Geiger, A.W. (2017, June 21). Millennials are the most likely generation of Americans to use public libraries. Retrived from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/01/24/10-facts-about-americans-and-public-libraries/