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User Research from Pew

When you work in a library, or any other place, you begin to see patterns. I chose to write this week’s post on User Research because I’m actually very interested in numbers as a way to solidify theories. We can learn a lot from people and the actions of a few families can tell us that other families are similar.

For example, I can speak to people and learn that my millennial peers don’t pay for cable. In the Home Broadband 2015 Pew article by Horrigan, J. B., & Duggan, we learn that ” 15% of American adults report they have become “cord cutters” – meaning they have abandoned paid cable or satellite television service” (2019). It’s also shown that general, “home broadband adoption seems to have plateaued” as people turn to be “smartphone-only” adults (2019).

But it’s not just cable that we seem to be cutting out of our lives. As previously mentioned, more and more people are no longer paying for at home internet. The fact that less people pay for internet at home can correlate to the fact that 78% of adults under 30 own a laptop or desktop computer, compared with 88% who did so in 2010 (Anderson, 2019). The image below shows how the number of smartphone and tablets purchased are growing but all other devices stopped growing, or declined. More and more people feel like they can access the internet by

The findings above might explain why, according to the pew article, Public libraries and technology: From “houses of knowledge” to “houses of access” say that 77% of Americans now think it is “very important” for public libraries to provide free access to computers and the internet to the community. I see this first hand when people are outside the library before it opens and rush to a computer. Or those that stay with their personal laptops after we close but hang out in the parking lot to access the wireless internet.

Another Pew article, 10 Facts About Americans and Public Libraries, mentions that 90% of Americans ages 16 and older say that the closing of their local public library would have an impact on their community. The internet provides access to jobs, news, work, and community so it’s not wonder that the public sees the importance in library services. The social media community, as we know, has grown to be a large part of people’s lives as well. When I worked in a library, we sometimes had people shame those that took up computers for social networking instead of checking email but that’s not okay. Social media is also important and it’s a great way for people to connect with others. For example 72% of adult internet users/62% of entire adult population are on Facebook; 28% of adult internet users/24% of entire adult population are on Instagram; 25% of adult internet users/22% of entire adult population are on LinkedIn; and 23% of all internet users/20% of entire adult population are on Twitter (Duggan, 2019)

They concluded that 47% of total U.S. employment is in the high risk category, including most workers in transportation and logistics occupations, office and administrative support occupations, and production workers. Among the jobs at the highest risk for computerization: telemarketers, title examiners, insurance underwriters, watch repairers and tax preparers.

Anderson, M. (2019, December 31). U.S. Technology Device Ownership 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2020, from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2015/10/29/technology-device-ownership-2015/

DeSilver, D. (2014, August 15). As machines take on more human work, what’s left for us? Retrieved March 8, 2020, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/08/15/as-machines-take-on-more-human-work-whats-left-for-us/

Duggan, M. (2019, December 31). Demographics of Social Media Users in 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2020, from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2015/08/19/the-demographics-of-social-media-users/#frequency-of-use-on-social-media-sites

Horrigan, J. B., & Duggan, M. (2019, December 31). Home Broadband 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2020, from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2015/12/21/home-broadband-2015/

Public libraries and technology: From “houses of knowledge” to “houses of access”. (2019, December 31). Retrieved March 8, 2020, from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2014/07/09/public-libraries-and-technology-from-houses-of-knowledge-to-houses-of-access/

Zickuhr, K., & Purcell, K. (2019, December 31). Library Engagement Typology. Retrieved March 8, 2020, from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2014/03/13/library-engagement-typology/

2 replies on “User Research from Pew”

Seeing that 90% of American adults (or close to adults) say that the closing of their library would have an impact on the community always comforts me. Pew is the best. It’s interesting that the internet, which some people thought would make libraries obsolete, has become the reason that a lot of people visit the library. The fact that 47% of U.S. employment is in the high risk category suggests that inequality is going to get worse in the future, not better. And the library will be there for people who need to look for jobs online and print out resumes. The only way libraries will ever disappear is if some other institution appears to offer a host of services that people need, for free, but how likely is that?

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