This week saw the release of a new Pew Research Center report that explores America’s engagement with public libraries and the ways in which the digital era has changed our reading habits. Entitled “From Distant Admirers to Library Lovers – and Beyond: A Typology of Public Library Engagement in America”, the report found that public libraries continue to play a significant role in the lives of 69% of Americans. E-book reading is at an all time high.
The authors also found a strong connection between Americans’ use of technology and engagement with libraries; the better connected we are, the more likely we are to seek out and use new information. That means that the internet, video games and television have not replaced the book just yet. In fact, e-readers have given us easier access than ever to literature, though the study showed that most Americans still read print books as well.
We like to think the same is true for those of us in academia. When access to information is easier, we’re more likely to use it to enrich our own writing. By managing our books and articles more efficiently, we also engage more with new research, and we can follow trends and innovations in our field. Fortunately, open access combined with reference managers such as Mendeley puts your entire digital library at your fingertips, so you know you can rely on us to help you find what you need and to suggest the newest research! And all that, we hope, gives you more free time to focus on your research and the other things you love in life.
We’d love to hear from our readers. Does this report surprise you? Do you go to the library more or less often than you used to? Does new technology mean you borrow more ebooks or do you spend more time reading open access articles? What makes your local or university library great, and what could make it even better? Leave us a comment here, on Facebook, or Tweet us @Mendeley_com!