As a freelance writer and curious sort that I am, I recently conducted a short survey just 1-2 blocks away from several libraries in a metro area. I was most curious to know why some library visitors frequented their public libraries. Out of the 231 participants ranging in ages 5 (with adult) through elderly, age 83, I found the following practical reasons as to why the public library is still our friend.
Following are the three most practical reasons based on my short interactive survey:
1. Internet Access at 89%. This category of visitors comprised business men, instructors, students, and job seekers. These visitors went to the library to check email, conduct research, look up news groups, listen to music, read online articles, do a job search, and/or to conduct search engine inquiries.
2. Physical Book Checkout at 9%. This percentage of visitors checked out books to take home to read at their own leisure. Some participants commented that they liked to hold a book in their hand as they sat in their recliner or go to the park to read a good novel. Children’s books were included in this category.
3. Children’s Corner at 2%. Due to the encouragement to expose young children to picture books and reading, several libraries have expanded their children’s corner to include puzzles, puppets, games, and housekeeping play area. Some young parents specifically took their children to the Children’s Corner as an educational outlet while they themselves browsed through a magazine.
Of course we know that different areas will vary on visitor percentages and reasons, but it’s reasonable to believe that these three practical reasons may prove that the public library is still our friend, and hope to be, for several years to come.