US Libraries Seeing Increased Use of Mobile Devices

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Note -- this news article is more than a year old.

Some 13% of Americans adults have visited library websites or otherwise accessed library services by mobile device according to Pew Research. An earlier survey in 2009 by scholars at the University of Washington found that 6% of Americans ages 16 and older had used a mobile device to connect to a library site so the incidence of this activity has doubled since then.

The survey also found that those who are most likely to have connected to a library site include parents of minor children, women, and those with at least some college education.

Library website users

In all, the Pew Internet Project survey finds that 39% of Americans ages 16 and older have gone to a library website at one time or another and, of them, 64% visited a library site in the previous 12 months. That translates into 25% of all Americans ages 16+ who visited a library website in the past year.

Those who are most likely to have visited library websites are parents of minors, women, those with college educations, those under age 50, and people living in households earning $75,000 or more.

The 25% of Americans ages 16 and older who went to a library website in the past 12 months tended to do so with modest frequency:

  • 3% of them went every day or almost every day
  • 9% went at least once a week
  • 15% went several times a month
  • 27% went at least once a month
  • 46% went less often than that

When they were on the sites, users sampled a wide variety of library services. Of those 25% of Americans who went to a library website in the past 12 months:

  • 82% of them searched the library catalog for books (including audiobooks and e-books), CDs, and DVDs.
  • 72% got basic library information such as the hours of operation, location of branches, or directions.
  • 62% reserved books (including audiobooks and e-books), CDs, and DVDs.
  • 51% renewed a book, DVD, or CD. Those ages 30-49 and parents of minor children are especially likely to have done this.
  • 51% used an online database. Those ages 18-29 are particularly likely to have done this.
  • 48% looked for information about library programs or events. Those ages 50-64 are especially likely to do this.
  • 44% got research or homework help.
  • 30% read book reviews or got book recommendations.
  • 30% checked whether they owed fines or paid the fines online. Those ages 30-49 are particularly likely to have done this.
  • 27% signed up for library programs and events.
  • 22% borrowed or downloaded an e-book.
  • 6% reserved a meeting room.

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