Rare Book Monthly

Articles - March - 2013 Issue

Detailed Report Looks at Library Usage in the Digital Age

Pewrpt03-13

Pew Research issues report on library usage in the digital age.

The Pew Research Center has released a report on Library Services in the Digital Age. What we see is a popular, even beloved institution grappling with a world that is changing at speeds unimaginable in the past. Libraries are forced to deal with people who want traditional services yet new ones too, while they have to provide all of this within tight, often declining budgets, and limited space. What we want and what we want to pay for aren't always the same.

We find that traditional services, borrowing books and access to reference librarians, are considered “very important” by 80% of the American public age 16 and over. The more recent services of free access to computers and the internet scored almost as high at 77%. However, a host of new services would also be welcome, including online help from librarians, places to try out new technology, community based kiosks similar to “Redbox” where people can check out books, music and movies, and apps based access to library materials. Large majorities indicated they would be either very likely or somewhat likely to use these services. When library staff were asked about new offerings desired by their patrons, they cited classes on borrowing electronic books, classes on how to use hand-held reading devices, and online research assistance from librarians.

Asked about public priorities for libraries, 85% said libraries “definitely” should coordinate more closely with schools, 82% said they should offer more literacy programs for young children, 59% said they should have more comfortable spaces for reading, working and relaxing (sleeping in the library?), and 53% favored a greater selection of e-books. This question was not asked, but a majority probably would have voted for free milk and cookies if the option were offered. Librarians have their work cut out for them.

The 53% favoring a greater selection of e-books was interesting. A Pew survey the previous month indicated only 5% of the public borrows e-books from libraries. This gap between 5% and 53% could reflect libraries not offering the desired titles, though it also may reflect inertia and force of habit. People don't seem to quite be in the hang of borrowing electronic books from their library yet.

While library users want more technology and other services provided, they were not so keen on removing books to make more space for them. The margin was 36%-20% against moving books and stacks out of public locations to free up space for other activities, with most others saying “maybe.”

While all of these wants may make for a challenging environment for librarians, the good news is that libraries are still appreciated, even by people who rarely if ever visit them. An astounding 91% of Americans say libraries are important to their communities, and 76% say they are important for themselves or their families. However, only 53% actually visited a library in the last year. Only 22% said they knew all or most of the services libraries now offer.

Traditional activities topped the list of what recent library users did. Borrowing print books and browsing the shelves for books or media topped the list at 73%. Next, 54% said they researched topics of interest, 50% came to seek help from a librarian, 49% to read, study or watch/listen to media, 46% to use a research database.

Interestingly, the number of recent library users who said their use of the library increased vs. decreased in the past five years was a close split, 26% saying it increased, 22% that it decreased. These numbers may tilt a bit favorably to library usage since it wouldn't include former “recent users” who dropped out of that category in the past year. Of those whose usage increased, the largest reason was bringing children or grandchildren to the library, cited by 26%. To do research was 14%, to borrow books 12%, being a student 10%. Among those whose use declined, there was a major concentration of 40% who said they can do research or get books online outside of the library. That is an issue librarians need to consider. One of the major ways libraries have reinvented themselves as interest in traditional print books for research or reading has declined has been to provide free access to the internet. As such access has become available to an increasing percent of the population from home, the need to obtain such access at a library can be expected to decline. Another reinvention may be in order. A second major factor for decreasing use is the other side of the major reasons for increasing use – 16% cite that their children have grown or they are no longer a student.

Interest in new services is stronger among minorities than others. Various suggested new services generally elicited about double the interest among blacks and Hispanics as among whites. Current usage is similar between blacks and whites though Hispanics use the library at a lower rate. Women are also more likely to visit a library than men.

Details on this interesting study may be found at the following link: libraries.pewinternet.org/2013/01/22/library-services.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Francis Scott Key, <i>Star Spangled Banner,</i> first printing, c. 1814-16. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> William Sydney Porter, a.k.a. “O. Henry,” archive of drawings made to illustrate a lost mining memoir, c. 1883-84. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> [Bay Psalm Book], printed for Hezekiah Usher of Boston, Cambridge, c. 1648-65. $50,000 to $75,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Noticia estraordinario,</i> probable first announcement in Mexico City of the fall of the Alamo, 1836. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Patrick Gass, first edition of earliest first-hand account of the Lewis and Clarke expedition, Pittsburgh, 1807. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Diploma from the Princeton Class of 1783, commencement attended by Washington & Continental Congress. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>Sprague Light Cavalry!</i> color-printed broadside, NY, 1863. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> <i>The Lincoln & Johnson Union Campaign Songster,</i> Philadelphia, 1864. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Lucy Parsons, labor organizer, albumen cabinet card, New York, 1886. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Daniel L.F. Swift, journal as third mate on a Pacific Whaling voyage, 1848-1850. $3,000 to $4,0000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 10:</b> Two photos of Thomas Moran, Grand Canyon, silver prints, 1901. $1,500 to $2,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €

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