The Pew Research Center very recently published Libraries at the Crossroads. This publication reports the findings “from a nationally representative telephone survey of 2,004 Americans ages 16 and older, conducted from March 17-April 12, 2015.” The results reveal complex developments in the library world. Complementing traditional forms of library usage are new services, resources and programs. At the same time, there are signs that the number of Americans visiting libraries have edged downwards over the past three years. Some findings from the report:
Many Americans say they want public libraries to:
–support local education;
–serve special constituents such as veterans, active-duty military personnel and immigrants;
–help local businesses, job seekers and those upgrading their work skills;
–embrace new technologies such as 3-D printers and provide services to help patrons learn about high-tech gadgetry.
Additionally, two-thirds of Americans (65%) ages 16 and older say that closing their local public library would have a major impact on their community. Low-income Americans, Hispanics and African Americans are more likely than others to say that a library closing would impact their lives and communities.