Pew Internet & American Life Project: Libraries, Patrons and E-Books

The Pew Internet & American Life Project last month released another interesting report:

Libraries, Patrons and E-Books (June 22, 2012)

The report’s accompanying questionnaire is here.

The report indicates the growing importance of e-books and also highlights some curious factors — consider these findings:

  • 12% of readers of e-books borrowed an e-book from the library in the past year. But a majority of Americans do not know that this service is provided by their local library.
  • E-book borrowers appreciate the selection of e-books at their local library, but they often encounter wait lists, unavailable titles, or incompatible file formats.
  • Many Americans would like to learn more about borrowing e-books.
  • 58% of Americans have a library card, and 69% say that their local library is important to them and their family.
  • Library card holders are more than twice as likely to have bought their most recent book than to have borrowed it from a library.
  • Many e-book borrowers purchase e-books, too.
  • Library card holders use more technology, and they report that they read more books.
  • Leading-edge librarians and patrons say that the advent of e-books has produced a major transformation in book searching and borrowing at libraries:
  1. book-borrowing habits are changing (routine, person-to-person library interactions are declining while online communications and searching increase);
  2. library holdings are changing (funds shifting from print to electronic title acquisition); and,
  3. librarians’ roles are changing (more “tech support”).

Cross-posted on Law Library Blog.

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