Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Looking For References

The Pew Internet & American Life Project, in conjunction with the Institute of Museum and Library Services, has performed a survey (pdf of results) to find out where people turn to for information: internet, libraries, friends, family, etc. Interesting to me: 40% of Generation Y would go to the library, as opposed to 20% of those above age 30. The survey is complex in its respondent makeup, though: I wonder if this is skewed by the number of young people's lack of home computers and internet connections -- people over 30 are probably more likely to have a computer in the house, have kids around preventing a quick run to the library, and other reasons and benefits to stick at home rather than dashing down to the bookitorium. Still, if teens and young adults still see libraries as a valuable resource -- whatever form the library has taken today or in the future -- then there's something to be said for libraries as a cornerstone of an information society. If the ALA wants to remind people that the internet is not a library, then they should embrace that their combination of internet and library is of significant value. Now, if only governments will realize the value of libraries to their public.

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