“What kind of Library User are you?” Are you a Library Lover or are you a Distant Admirer? Do you value and utilize your public library? Do you attend programs, use the computers, check out books, DVD’s, audio books? Do you volunteer? Do you direct friends, guests or visitors to the library?
Did you know that just by attending a program, the library can count you in its statistics by showing how valuable it is to the community? By checking out a book, by using the computers, by bringing guests, by volunteering or teaching a class and by donating through the book sale are all ways the community supports the library. We don’t sell anything, we offer services. By being active, you are showing that the library is worthwhile and what programs are valuable to you.
A recent report from PewResearch Internet Project looked at the typology of public library engagement in America, through a national survey asking the general public’s habits and attitudes on their public library.. 30% of the general U.S. population has a High Engagement of public library use, 39% has a Medium Level of engagement, 17% has Low Engagement and 14% have No Personal Library Use.
The High Engagement group uses their libraries most heavily; they think libraries improve their communities and lives; they tend to be active in other parts of community, know their neighbors, visit local attractions, attend sporting events and are more likely to socialize with family and friends. They believe libraries play an essential role in encouraging literacy and the love of reading.
On the other hand, the Low Engagement group is less engaged in their communities overall. Persons with lower rates of library use are less likely to be involved with social or civic organizations, have difficulty using technology, less comfortable finding information about government services, or navigating various types of information. Low engagement users have either a negative view of libraries, don’t know where it is located or face hurdles that prevent them from coming to the library.
After reviewing the information, statistics and charts; speaking with other librarians and visiting with other libraries; the conclusion is that we are extremely lucky to have a public library like ours. We have a beautiful building, a wonderful staff, and a reasonable budget for ordering items and keeping technology up to date. Some statistics you may find interesting: Only 29.8% of Hopkins County residents have a library card… and 10.1% are active cardholders (meaning those cardholders have been to the library in the past year).
“But I’ve had a bad experience at the library!” You say. Why don’t you give us a try again? We may not be perfect, but we are not mean nor do we hold a grudge. If you are late bringing back a book… just bring it back. If you have been assessed a fine, it’s because there is a fine system in place, no problem, just consider the fine a donation to the library! If you were assessed a fine by mistake, we will be glad to correct it. No hard feelings. If you lost a book and have to pay the price, consider that a donation also. Better yet, donate at the Friends of the Library Book Sale. We need support like this to keep the summer reading program active. When we have no donations, we cannot continue programs. Do you have fond memories of summer reading programs or coming on a Saturday to read at the cool quiet library? We need your help to pass that feeling on to another generation!