Today OITP released the first of these documents, a backgrounder (pdf) that shares some highlights from the newest Pew Research Center report on “Libraries, Patrons, and E-books,” along with some possible messaging and local angles for leveraging this new research with local media and decision makers.
“The American Library Association believes that the rise of e-books — and, in fact, the overall growth in digital content of all kinds — constitutes both great opportunity and profound challenge for our nation’s libraries and communities,” Raphael said. “We appreciate the Pew Internet Project’s study and focus on libraries and their continued transformation in the Digital Age.
“The new report underscores that libraries continue to be a vital part of people’s lives in the digital age. Close to 70 percent of people say their local library is important to them and their family, and a majority of adults 16 years and older (58 percent) are library cardholders.
“Library patrons are:
big readers (they read double the number of books as non-library users)
book buyers (are twice as likely to buy as to borrow), and
technology users (are more likely than non-library users to be Internet users and to own cell phones, desktop and laptop computers)
“The research also confirms that many people look to librarians to support digital literacy and learn new skills that lead to wider adoption of technology. The double- and triple-digit growth libraries have reported in demand for e-books, desire for access to e-book readers, and requests for e-book reader assistance and classes clearly express a hunger for these services.
“The report also flags issues that demand attention. While more than three-quarters of U.S. public libraries now offer e-books (76 percent, compared with 38 percent only five years ago), many people are not yet aware of this service. Clearly there is an opportunity here for us to step up our outreach and increase public awareness of all the 21stcentury services our libraries have to offer readers, thinkers, entrepreneurs and dreamers. ALA and libraries welcome this challenge.”
“Of course, awareness is not enough. When people go to their public libraries to borrow e-books, they should be able to find titles from all of our publishers. As Pew points out, there are difficulties with respect to e-book availability in our nation’s libraries.
“Libraries cannot lend what they cannot obtain. ALA and others continue to call on publishers to make their e-books available to libraries at fair prices and terms. Libraries seek partners and collaborators to continue building a culture of reading and learning that embraces all formats, for all ages and all backgrounds.”