Friday, March 14, 2014

Technology's Future at Public Libraries: Staying Relevant in the Digital Age: a PLA Program

Most of the news is good when it comes to technology and libraries, according to the latest report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Contrary to the idea that new technology would displace libraries, Lee Rainie of the Pew Charitable Trust reports that Americans are still in love with their libraries. What's even more remarkable is that people who have taken to new devices like libraries more than people who have not. Most of the tech savvy have not abandoned libraries. Instead, they keep libraries as one of their channels of content.

Rainie was the first presenter at Technology's Future at Public Libraries: Staying Relevant in the Digital Age, a program at the Public Library Association conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. He presented findings from the report From Distant Admirers to Library Lovers, which was released Thursday morning. He showed a pie chart of various categories of users and nonusers of public libraries. 91 percent at some level still support and want public libraries. Some of these people report that they do not actually use libraries, but they want them to be available for others and for the betterment of their communities.

More about the results can be found in these articles:

Turns out most engaged library users are also biggest tech users from the PBS News Hour

Love libraries? Then you’re probably ahead of the technological curve. from the Washington Post

Are Library Users Happier People? from Time

Jackie Nytes, Chief Executive Officer of the Indianapolis Public Library, reports that increased door count in her city's libraries goes along with the growth of use of digital library content. Growth in Facebook and Twitter following has accompanied increased library traffic. And for the first time in 2013, the virtual branch of the library had more checkouts than any of the physical library branches.Bricks and mortar go along with digital services in her city.

A representative from the mayor's office reported that the city sees support of the library as a good investment in making the city attractive to families with children. The city already is seeing growth in the migration of young singles into the city and hopes to keep these people as they marry and mature.

This is all news to like.

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