Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Internet Libraries

So, What Are Libraries Good For, Now That So Many People Use the Internet?


The first answer to that Title Question could well be, “Libraries are good for getting free Internet access.”pew study

It’s hard for some folks to remember that not everyone has easy access to the Internetyet

The Pew Research Center recently released a new study, Library Services in the Digital Age.

That colorful pie-chart shows the results for the question, “Would you use “Amazon”-style customized book/audio/video recommendation schemes that are based on your prior library behavior?”

Remembering that the study was conducted in the U.S.A., and taking Very & Somewhat Likely, 64% would tend to use such a service.

Would you?

Remembering the Title Question of this post, this statement from the study becomes very interesting:

“The availability of free computers and internet access now rivals book lending and reference expertise as a vital service of libraries.”

This study has much more information, such as these findings:

  • Online research services allowing patrons to pose questions and get answers from librarians: 37% of Americans ages 16 and older would “very likely” use an “ask a librarian” type of service, and another 36% say they would be “somewhat likely” to do so.
  • Apps-based access to library materials and programs: 35% of Americans ages 16 and older would “very likely” use that service and another 28% say they would be “somewhat likely” to do so.
  • Access to technology “petting zoos” to try out new devices: 35% of Americans ages 16 and older would “very likely” use that service and another 34% say they would be “somewhat likely” to do so.
  • GPS-navigation apps to help patrons locate material inside library buildings: 34% of Americans ages 16 and older would “very likely” use that service and another 28% say they would be “somewhat likely” to do so.
  • “Redbox”-style lending machines or kiosks located throughout the community where people can check out books, movies or music without having to go to the library itself: 33% of Americans ages 16 and older would “very likely” use that service and another 30% say they would be “somewhat likely” to do so.

Then, after even more fascinating results, the study begins a summary with this statement (bold text by me):

“This report explores the changing world of library services by exploring the activities at libraries that are already in transition and the kinds of services citizens would like to see if they could redesign libraries themselves.”

Is your local library in that category?

I’d love to see some Comments after this post about Your local library

So, now, I have to bring up yesterday’s post, A Place Called LibraryThing ~ A Space To Have A Love Affair With Books, and let you know that I absolutely had a love affair with books at my library while I was growing up—even had a job in my early teens as a Page, re-shelving books

And, after I’d written yesterday’s post, I went on an exploration of LibraryThing and stayed up till six in the morning putting books on the shelves of my very own LibraryThing <<< that link will take you to my own little local library on the World Wide Web :-)

I slept for a couple hours then went right back to my library and added a bunch of tags to my books and another bunch of short reviews

So, tying all these personal-library-escapades into the Pew Research Study question about having your library offer the ability to have recommendations based on your past use, since I now have 54 books in my online library and nearly half of them have tags and reviews, LibraryThing sits in the background and makes all kinds of connections for me to use, based on the personal libraries of the other 1,632,691 members

My own little library helping me find recommended books and recommending connections with people who like the kinds of books I like :-)

But it gets even better!

LibraryThing has an article called, Pew study: Library patrons want personalized recommendations, and they talk about services they offer to real brick-and-mortar libraries.

Check out LibraryThing for Libraries where they spell out these services:

Catalog Enhancements
BookPsychic
Book Display Widgets
Library Anywhere

That service called BookPsychic is fascinating.

It’s only available in three countries right now and each country has only two libraries hooked up to the service; but, LibraryThing is actively seeking more libraries

So, here’s LibraryThing offering real libraries a service that the Pew study said 64% of those surveyed would use—an “Amazon”-style customized recommendation scheme based on prior library behavior.

Now, I know a few of you are wondering about the usefulness of a service that is only available at six libraries.

Never doubt the ingenuity of LibraryThing :-)

Get a free account here.

Put in a bunch of books you like—it takes about 30 seconds per book once you get the hang of it—don’t worry at first about tagging them or writing reviews.

Now, go over to BookPsychic, sign up, and link it to your LibraryThing account

Presto, you are one of the very satisfied 64% :-)

By the way, LibraryThing is quite multilingual, too
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