Magazine article American Libraries

Public Library Users Want Both Books and Technology

Magazine article American Libraries

Public Library Users Want Both Books and Technology

Article excerpt

A report by the Pew Research Center indicates that free access to technology in public libraries is as important to Americans age 16 and older as printed books and reference services. "Library Services in the Digital Age," released January 22 by the center's Internet and American Life Project, showed that 80% of the 2,252 interviewees said borrowing books and consulting reference librarians were "very important" library services, while 77% gave free access to computers and the internet the same rating.

A majority (53%) of the interviewees said libraries should "definitely" offer a broader selection of ebooks. More than half would be likely to check out e-readers already loaded with books (58%), take classes on how to download library ebooks to handheld devices (57%), and take classes or instruction on how to use handheld reading devices like e-readers and tablet computers (51%). This represents a significant growth over the past year.

"This is an incredible opportunity to increase our understanding of public perceptions and expectations of libraries in the digital age," said Larra Clark, program director for the American Library Association's Office for Information Technology Policy, who represents OITP on the project's advisory group. …

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