Are you an “information omnivore,” a “library lover,” or a “solid center”? If you love public libraries and technology both, you probably belong to one of those three groups. A study by the Pew Research Internet Project shows that Americans who use technology a lot also go to the libraries often.
The study grouped Americans into nine categories based on their engagement with public libraries, shedding light on their attitudes toward libraries, technology habits, and use of information resources. The top three groups showing high engagement with public libraries are library lovers, information omnivores, and solid center.
I love bricks-and-mortar libraries. Although I rely on my computer at work and at home heavily, I visit a public library almost every week. No machine or gadget could take away the pleasure of seeing and touching books, magazines, and DVDs; bumping into friends; chatting with friendly librarians; or just reading quietly in a corner.
Technology & Library Are Complementary
I’m not surprised by the overall results of the Pew Research study. Book lovers and information seekers are likely to have an “equal opportunity” attitude, taking advantage of all available resources. Why use just one resource, if you have access to two or more?
In a nutshell, here are the top three groups that are highly engaged with public libraries as described by the study:
Library Lovers (10% of the Population)
They use public libraries and library Web sites more than any other group, with 87 percent saying they’ve visited public libraries in the past 12 months. Most of them visit weekly. They are younger than the general population and tend to have higher levels of education. Sixty-two percent are women and 40 percent are parents. This group also includes many students and job seekers. Twenty-five percent are looking for jobs. Library lovers are heavy readers—66 percent read a book daily. They are also active Internet and mobile-device users; 72 percent go online via mobile devices.
Information Omnivores (20% of the Population)
They own devices, use technology a lot, and also visit public libraries frequently. They are the most intense users of the Internet—90 percent go online every day, 81 percent use social media, and 46 percent own a tablet computer. They are well-educated. They have the highest socio-economic ranking among all groups, as well as the highest employment rates. Fifty-seven percent are women and 40 percent are parents.
Solid Center (30% of the Population)
They have a generally positive view of public libraries. Forty-three percent said they’ve visited public libraries in the past 12 months, but their library visits are not as frequent as the first two groups. Fifty-one percent are men and 28 percent are parents. They are likely to live in small towns and cities, and half have lived in their communities for longer than 10 years.
To learn more about the report, click here
Photo by Vincent Fazzi