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Perhaps the most groundbreaking aspect of “Library Services in the Digital Age,” the report released today by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project is how non-groundbreaking its findings are.
Based on “a survey of 2,252 Americans ages 16 and above” conducted between October 15 and November 10 of last year, the Pew reportassures us that, even in the digital age, libraries continue to serve a variety of functions, with nearly 60% of respondents having had some kind of interaction with a library in the last 12 months, and 91% saying that “
Brooklyn Public Library's New Logo Misspells 'Brooklyn'
The future library is the brainchild of Bexar County (TX, San Antonio area) Judge Nelson Wolff who got the idea while while reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs.
“It's not a replacement for the (city) library system, it's an enhancement,” says Wolff who also happens to be a book collector. The library hopes to secure at least $250,000 to acquire the first 10,000 titles. There will also be 100 e-readers available for checkout.
“We wanted to find a low-cost, effective way to bring reading and learning to the county and also focus on the change in the world of technology...It will help people learn,” said Wolff.
artist's conception of how it might look
Some old-school types have mixed feelings about the push to diversify. "I hope the library doesn't turn into something that is a type of cooking-class meeting place with computers attached and no books," says Michael Gorman, former president of the American Library Association and university librarian emeritus at California State University, Fresno.
"If it appeals to youth and the youth are using the library... good luck to you," Mr. Gorman says, "though personally I would pay good money not to attend a standup comedy evening or a hog butchering."
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Some 13% of those ages 16 and older have visited library websites or otherwise accessed library services by mobile device. This is the first reading in a national survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project on this subject. An earlier survey in 2009 by scholars at the University of Washington found that 6% of Americans ages 16 and older had used a mobile device to connect to a library site, so the incidence of this activity has doubled since then.1
Those who are most likely to have connected to a library site include parents of minor children, women, and those with at least some college education.
Have you ever borrowed an e-book from a library? If the answer is no, you're a member of a large majority. A survey out Thursday from the Pew Internet Project finds that only 5 percent of "recent library users" have tried to borrow an e-book this year.
About three-quarters of public libraries offer e-books, according to the American Library Association, but finding the book you want to read can be a challenge — when it's available at all.
Full piece -- At the top of screen is a button to "click to listen" audio is 7 minutes 50 seconds.
This episode of "All Things Considered" had other pieces about ebooks and publishing in addition to the library one. They were:
Change Is The Only Constant In Today's Publishing Industry
E-Books Destroying Traditional Publishing? The Story's Not That Simple
Margaret Atwood's Brave New World Of Online Publishing
As librarians across the nation struggle with the task of redefining their roles and responsibilities in a digital age, many public libraries are seeing an opportunity to fill the void created by the loss of traditional bookstores. Indeed, today’s libraries are increasingly adapting their collections and services based on the demands of library patrons, whom they now call customers. Today’s libraries are reinventing themselves as vibrant town squares, showcasing the latest best sellers, lending Kindles loaded with e-books, and offering grassroots technology training centers. Faced with the need to compete for shrinking municipal finances, libraries are determined to prove they can respond as quickly to the needs of the taxpayers as the police and fire department can.
“I think public libraries used to seem intimidating to many people, but today, they are becoming much more user-friendly, and are no longer these big, impersonal mausoleums,” said Jeannette Woodward, a former librarian and author of “Creating the Customer-Driven Library: Building on the Bookstore Model.”
Since November, the Harvard Labrary—a temporary ‘pop-up’ space in an empty storefront in the middle of Harvard Square—has been a public gallery for design student projects on the future of libraries. The projects come out of this fall’s semester-long Library Test Kitchen (LTK) seminar at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. With an open door every Monday through Saturday, the Labrary invites passersby to come in, interact with the projects, or just sit and work.