Magazine article Information Today

The Value of Libraries

Magazine article Information Today

The Value of Libraries

Article excerpt

No doubt about it, the digital age has had a profound impact on libraries. And people want the best of both worlds: They want libraries to have technological resources and print books too. A recent Pew Internet & American Life Report, titled "Library Services in the Digital Age" (Jan. 22, 2013), surveyed Americans aged 16 and older regarding events that occurred in the past year.

Of the respondents, 80% said that borrowing a book is still a very important service that the library provides, 80% stated that access to a reference librarian is very important, and 77% said free access to computers is also a very important library service.

While the changes that most public patrons want often dovetailed with librarians, it is apparent that the public is also looking for some changes, judging from the percentage of users who said they were very likely to use certain services:

* 37% of surveyed Americans were very likely to use an Ask a Librarian service.

* 35% were very likely to use app-based access to the library materials and programs.

* 35% were very likely to try technology "petting zoos" to explore new tech and gadgets.

* 34% were very likely to use GPS-style navigation to find materials inside the library. …

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