Libraries and the New Education Ecosystem

Lee Rainie, Director, Internet, Science, Technology Research, Pew Research Center
@lrainie @pewinternet @pewresearch

“any day spent with librarians is a better day”

FactTank, News in the Numbers

Pew doesn’t take positions on what it researches. Enthusiastic about the audience, not here to prove a point.

What we know: our previous findings,

  1. In an era of systemic declines in trust in major institutions, people still think libraries are very impt, esp for communities
  2. People like and trust librarians
  3. People think libraries level the playing field for those without vast resources – people give everyone a shot.
  4. People think libraries provide services that are hard to get elsewhere
  5. People believe libraries have rebranded themselves as tech hubs
  6. Library User and Non-User Typology &

Most recent survey findings: Libraries at the crossroads — new roles & services & connections; but a little decline being seen in usage…

  • Indicator of steady state of library website usage — not growth — a little drop?. Women, more than men. Not senior citizens. Parents of minor children love libraries (moms and dads). Take maximum advantage of those people, and how they’re plugged into communities.
  • If your public library closed, would that have a major impact on your community — 65% say major on community; 24% minor impact; 6% no impact; 32% major impact on family; 33% minor impact; 33% no impact;
  • Reading — very effective + somewhat effective = 78% how effective are libraries art promoting literacy and love of reading in community
  • How much have libraries contributed to their communities? Some of the results: Health; learning new tech; local events & resources in your community; what info can trust; volunteer opportunities; find jobs and training (skills upgrading) — libraries as platform, destination. Facilitating people getting to the experts. Trusted referee
  • As economy has gotten better, libraries as vehicles of economic development, job development, libraries aren’t playing as big of a role as in the past
  • What should libraries do? Changes happening between Nov 2012 & April 2015 research answers: people a bit more accepting of moving books to free up more space for things such as tech centers, reading rooms, meeting rooms & cultural events;
  • Do something for education
  • Should libraries offer free early literacy programs to help young children prepare for school — 85% should definitely do
  • Should libraries offer programs to tech people including kids and senior citizens how to use digital tools? 70%+ say yes

Preliminary data from survey still in the field = Number of respondents = 803

How important is it for people to make an effort to learn new things for

  • Their jobs – 87% very impt; 11%; somewhat impt
  • Things happening in society 71% very impt; 23 somewhat impt
  • Their community 68% very impt; 27 % somewhat impt
  • Their hobbies and interests 58% very impt; 35% somewhat impt

Learning as identity — Describes me very well

  • I think of myself as a lifelong learner 72% <– new question (lit review didn’t come up with this done before)
  • I like to gather as much info as I can when I come across something that I am not familiar with — 61%
  • I often find myself looking for new opps to grow as a person — 57%

72% of all adults are personal enrichment learners

  • Read publications related to personal interest
  • attended meeting where learned new info such as book club or arts club
  • attend convention/conference tied to personal interest
  • taken course related to interest/hobby
  • taken online course

The motives of personal learners — “As trust in systemic institutions decreases, trust in personal networks has increased”

  • Learn something make my life more interesting – 78
  • learn something that would allow me to help others – 64
  • extra time on my hands – 58
  • wanted to turn a hobby into extra income – 36
  • Learn something to help with children’s or other kids school work – 34

65% of the employed are work-related learners; gotten training or taken course

  • to maintain or improve my job skills — 55%
  • for a license or certification for my job — 35%
  • to help get a raise/promotion — 24%
  • to help get a new job
  • Because I am worried about losing job

How well, if at all, do your local public libraries serve the learning & education needs of your local community – not just children at schools, but all those of any age who want to learn

  • 36% very well
  • 41% pretty well
  • We’re not a top-of-line actor in educational ecosystem; reminding people we are there will improve numbers

How well, if at all, do your local public libraries serve the learning and education needs of you and your family?

  • 34% very well
  • 36% pretty well
  • Internet also a place to turn to; libraries can make a case for people to turn to us

As far as you know, does your local library system offer any of the following services? 

  • Ebooks, audiobooks for borrowing — 60% (smaller number if ebook only)
  • Online career and job-related resources — 41%
  • Online GED or high school equivalency classes — 29%
  • Programs on starting a new business — 24%
  • Online programs that certify people have mastered new skills — 22%

Libraries could do a better job of connecting dots with population in providing life long training resources #internetlibrarian –@TAC_NISO

Opps for growth, and support from business community, “But for the library my business wouldn’t be here…”

Lots of places where people can learn. Big missing piece is the credentialing/proving people can master.

There are lots of places where people can learn in the current environment – how do we help them quantify that learning?  #internetlibrarian @zeebrarian

New role for libraries to play in educational system — Kahn Academy founder — said during Aspen Institute, Future of Libraries

Do something for the economy & jobs: many believe libraries should be pathways to economic opportunity, esp when it comes to providing resources for business development, job skill building

  • Should libraries create services or programs for local business and entrepreneurs?
  • Should libraries buy 3D printers and other digital tools to allow people to learn how to use them to make different kinds of objects?

Computer usage activity for job searching/skill increasing has declined but still a part of computer usage.

Do something for special populations… Americans say libraries should offer services to help recent immigrants, veterans, and active duty military 

  • 74% — yes, active military
  • 59%  — yes, immigrants & first-gen Americans

Should libraries offer programs to teach patrons about protecting their privacy and security online? 76% say yes

Should libraries have more comfortable spaces for reading, working, and relaxing at the library? 64% say yes

People: serve & learn — what people would like to see of libraries

  • Tech experts
  • Master teachers in age of lifelong learning
  • Visionaries for knowledge economy and the jobs it produces
  • Experts in sense-making and context — can’t do enough to share what we’re doing/reading/what we’ve found
  • Curators of the most relevant and useful material
  • Monitors of algorithms – No one is taking it upon themselves to be fact-checkers…data manipulated & captured; libraries have been fierce advocates for transparency; even more impt in today’s age
  • Data is your third skin.  @lrainie  Libraries as advocates for transparency. –@technolibrary

Place: reconfigured and repurposed

  • Physical space is different and sensored/metered
  • artifacts are connected and data-rich
  • Nodes for “system of systems” with databases and media
  • Test beds — maker masters
  • Community info and media stewards — server farms — steward of community data; local institutions

Platforms: Community Resource

  • Trusted institution and privacy watchdog
  • Advocates for free and open
  • Advocates for closing digital divides
  • Data and collections repositories
  • Entrepreneur enablers
  • Civic specialists and gap fillers — esp in learning realms
  • Credentialing????

“message of comfort” if everyone is struggling with it, we can make a huge contribution. Some of the best at doing it