Released: December 11, 2013

Are Libraries Essential? Mixed Message in Latest Pew Survey

In a survey report released today, the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project found that just over half of those surveyed (52%) believe they do not need libraries as much as they used to. But while the survey showed Americans may be split over the essential role of libraries in this age of readily accessible online information, it also showed that libraries remain incredibly popular, and are regarded as vital to their communities.

The latest in a series of research surveys aimed at American libraries, the Pew Research Center Library Services Survey polled 6,224 Americans 16 or older, from July 18-September 30, 2013. And while the results show that Americans still value libraries, it also laid out the emerging fault lines libraries face in the digital age.


Kathryn Zickuhr, Research Associate at the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project and lead author of the report said the report was the latest to demonstrate that Americans feel strongly about libraries, even if they are visiting them less. “Even people who don’t rely on public libraries as much in their own lives say they value libraries as important resources for the community at large,” Zickuhr said.

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