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How People Fit Libraries Into Their Lives

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Lee Rainie, director of Internet, Science and Technology research at the Pew Research Center, presented at the Computers in Libraries 2017 conference on March 30 new findings about how people have shifted to the mindset of lifelong learners and the implications of that for librarians. He discussed how people’s disposition towards information and knowledge – are they engaged or are they wary? – shapes how they use library resources. He also discussed future technology trends and how librarians will have to adjust to them.

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How People Fit Libraries Into Their Lives

  1. 1. Where technology fits with library patrons’ needs Lee Rainie Director, Pew Internet Project March 30, 2017 Computers in Libraries - @lrainie | @pewinternet | @pewresearch
  2. 2. The poll … found that many Americans possessed near-photographic memories of their precise location, who they were with, as well as the emotions experienced upon seeing Balrog wrap his fiery whip around Gandalf’s legs…. The poll also showed that many Americans later struggled to broach the subject of Gandalf falling into the bottomless pit with their young children.
  3. 3. What we already know about libraries: Our previous findings -- libraries.pewinternet.org
  4. 4. • People think libraries are important, especially for communities • People like and trust librarians • People think libraries level of the playing field for those without vast resources • People believe libraries have rebranded themselves as tech hubs • People still read books
  5. 5. Library usage
  6. 6. Went to library / bookmobile in past 12 months % of those ages 16+ 53 48 44 48 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 2012 2012 2013 2015 2016 Heavier users include parents of minors, women, those under 60, those with college degrees +
  7. 7. Used library website in past 12 months % of those ages 16+ 20132012 2015 25 30 31 31 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 2012 2013 2015 2016
  8. 8. Library activities
  9. 9. People’s orientation to information
  10. 10. • Gauge interest in topics like business, government, health, science, sports, local community, foreign affairs • Explore “growth mindset” vs. “fixed mindset” (Carol Dweck) • Explore their strategies as they make major decisions • Measure their technology inventory • Explore their library use • How much they think it would help them if they: got New research – poll and focus groups
  11. 11. Factors that shape people’s information interests • Access to and use of libraries • Personal tastes • Trust in information sources – the higher the level of trust, the more likely people are to feel drawn to information acquisition • Personal growth mindset, particularly when it comes to keeping current on digital skills and information literacy • Life circumstances and time horizons – whether people have the time for pursuing information or whether they feel stressed about information burdens they may experience
  12. 12. People’s trust in various sources of information 3 14 17 18 18 24 39 40 31 54 48 54 43 58 44 38 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Info on social media Info from financial institutions Info from national news organizations Info from local news organizations Info from government sources Info from family and friends Info from health care providers Info from local public library A lot Some
  13. 13. Information wary ~ quarter of population People with relatively low levels of interest in information. Very low levels of trust in information sources. They do not exhibit much interest in acquiring digital skills or the wherewithal to determine what information is trustworthy.
  14. 14. Information wary ~ quarter of population Demographics Male dominated Tilts older Non-parents of minors
  15. 15. Information addled ~ quarter of population This group has fairly typical levels of interest in information (just below average) and visit the library on par with others. Yet they have low levels of trust in info sources (especially national / local news organizations).
  16. 16. Information addled ~ quarter of population ---- (2) They are also much more likely than average to say they are often trying to do two or more things at once and less likely than others to say it is easy for them to relax. Have little interest in improving their information literacy.
  17. 17. Information addled ~ quarter of population Demographics Tilts male Tilts to better off HH Tilts suburban
  18. 18. Cautious and curious ~ 1 in 8 This group has interest in information, but not a lot of time or attention to pursue it. Its members also have below- average levels of trust in information, but a high level of interest in acquiring digital skills and skills to better trust information.
  19. 19. Cautious and curious ~ 1 in 8 ---- (2) This group could become more interested in pursuing information. Clearing trust hurdles is part of it. They also need more time and attention to do this.
  20. 20. Cautious and curious ~ 1 in 8 Demographics Looks like the general population
  21. 21. Eager and willing ~ fifth of population This group has highest levels of interest in news and information and high degree of trust in info sources. More than any other group, they trust their family and friends, plus libraries and librarians, as info sources.
  22. 22. Eager and willing ~ fifth of population ---- (2) They do not have particular abundance in digital information access tools and, perhaps for that reason, more than half report at least occasional difficulty finding information online. This group also expresses a high degree of interest in training on digital skills and on how to better understand the trustworthiness of information. They also wish that a public library were closer to home and had expanded
  23. 23. Eager and willing ~ fifth of population Demographics Female dominated Minority majority Relatively young Least well educated
  24. 24. Information confident ~ 1 in 6 This group reports the highest levels of trust in information sources, with particularly high levels of trust in national news organizations, government sources, and health care providers. This translates into above-average interest in news, with particular emphasis on government and politics and foreign affairs.
  25. 25. Information confident ~ 1 in 6 ---- (2) They have an abundance of tech access tools, and they do not feel they need additional training in digital skills or how to determine the veracity of information for making decisions.
  26. 26. Information confident ~ 1 in 6 Demographics Evenly split by gender Tilts white Tilts young Tilts better educated
  27. 27. Assessments of libraries
  28. 28. Do you think the library helps you 78 76 65 56 21 23 34 43 0 20 40 60 80 100 Find info that is trustworthy Learn new things Grow as a person Get info that helps you with decisions Yes No
  29. 29. Do you think the library helps you 49 43 38 27 50 56 60 68 0 20 40 60 80 100 Focus on things that matter in your life Cope with a busy world Cope with a world where it is hard to get ahead Protect your personal data from online thieves Yes No
  30. 30. Do you think your local public library provides you with the resources you need, or not? 77 11 12 0 20 40 60 80 100 Yes No Don’t know Especially true for those under age 50 and doubly true for Millennials
  31. 31. How much, if at all, do you think your local public library contributes to the following things in your community? 29 38 47 49 58 69 36 35 32 31 29 20 16 14 9 10 5 3 8 6 4 3 3 3 10 7 8 7 5 4 0 20 40 60 80 100 Serving as a gathering place for addressing challenges in your local community Promoting a sense of community among different groups within your local area Providing a trusted place for people to learn about new technologies Helping spark creativity among young people Creating educational opportunity for people of all ages Providing a safe place for people to spend time A lot Some Not too much Nothing at all Don't know
  32. 32. If your local public library CLOSED, would that have a MAJOR impact, MINOR impact or NO IMPACT on … 33 66 33 25 33 6 0 20 40 60 80 100 Me / my family My community Major Impact Minor impact No impact
  33. 33. April 27, 2017 36www.pewresearch.org The clear public mandate: Do something for education …. Large majorities of Americans see libraries as part of the educational ecosystem and as resources for promoting digital and information literacy.
  34. 34. Should libraries coordinate more closely with local schools in providing resources to kids? % of those ages 16+ 85 11 2 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Should definitely do Should maybe do Should definitely not do
  35. 35. 85 12 2 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Should definitely do Should maybe do Should definitely not do Should libraries offer free early literacy programs to help young children prepare for school? % of those ages 16+
  36. 36. Should libraries offer programs to teach people, including kids and senior citizens, how to use digital tools such as computers, smartphones and apps? % of those ages 16+ 80 16 4 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Should definitely do Should maybe do Should definitely not do
  37. 37. This really registers now because people think education matters more and they want to be more attuned to learning
  38. 38. Learning as identity (% of those ages 18+) 57 61 73 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 I often find myself looking for new opportunities to grow as a person I like to gather as much information as I can when I come across something that I am not familiar… I think of myself as a lifelong learner Describes me very well
  39. 39. The motives of personal learners % of those ages 18+ 33 36 60 64 80 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Learn something to help with my children's or other kids school work Wanted to turn a hobby into extra income Extra time on my hands Learn something that would allow me to help others Learn something make my life more interesting
  40. 40. How are libraries performing in this new environment?
  41. 41. How well, if at all, do your local public libraries serve the learning and educational needs of your local community – not just children at schools, but all those of any age who want to learn? % of those ages 18+ 37 39 6 4 12 0 20 40 60 80 100 Very well Pretty well Not too well Not well at all Don't know
  42. 42. How well, if at all, do your local public libraries serve the learning and educational needs of you and your family? (% of those ages 18+) 34 36 9 12 8 0 20 40 60 80 100 Very well Pretty well Not too well Not well at all Don't know
  43. 43. People: Serve and Model Pathfinders for trusted information Curators and arbiters of trusted information Tech AND data experts Master teachers in age of lifelong learning Visionaries for the knowledge economy and the jobs it produces
  44. 44. Place: Reconfigure and repurpose Embrace the Internet of Things Become the “first place” to meet Fill in “market holes” or niches (ESL, pre-school learning, small biz space, veterans programs) Innovation test beds
  45. 45. Platform: Community Resource 2.0 Trusted, top-of-mind institution for learning Advocates for free and open Advocates for closing digital divides Privacy and algorithms watchdog
  46. 46. Fear not

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