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OITP releases backgrounder on “Libraries, Patrons, and E-books”

As part of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy’s work with the Digital Content and Libraries Working Group, several member leaders have requested we develop and distribute communications resources that will support local libraries around digital content issues.

Today OITP released the first of these documents, a backgrounder (pdf) that shares some highlights from the newest Pew Research Center report on “Libraries, Patrons, and E-books,” along with some possible messaging and local angles for leveraging this new research with local media and decision makers.

Among the report’s key findings referenced in the backgrounder:

  • 12% of e-book readers have borrowed an e-book from their library
  • 62% of people don’t know they can borrow e-books from their library
  • 69% of people report the library is important to them and their family
  • Many people would like to learn more about borrowing e-books
  • E-book borrowers appreciate the selection of e-books at their local library, but they often encounter difficulty borrowing

The new research already has generated many news stories, and has the potential to interest many more reporters with a local tie-in over the coming weeks. We hope this backgrounder will assist libraries at the state and local level to tell their e-book stories using new national data and messaging.

If you’d like to learn more directly from the source, Pew Internet Project Director Lee Rainie discussed the report and related research at the ALA Annual Conference (June 20-26), and is a featured presenter as part of the ALA Virtual Conference July 18 and 19.

Finally, please share with us in comments any successes you’ve had in sharing the library e-book story in your community. What creative approaches have you taken to raise awareness of your e-book collections and other digital resources?

Stay cool!

Larra Clark

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Larra Clark

Larra Clark is the deputy director of both the Public Library Association and Washington Office’s public policy team. Larra received her bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Arizona and has a M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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  1. Peter Cook Peter Cook

    We have been running e-book borrowing programs in our library in 2012 and can see the need for more. The public wants to know how to use their device to borrow e-books. Word of mouth and advertising needs to increase to get the word out you can borrow books from your local library electronically.

  2. We agree, Peter. At the national level, ALA is planning communications activities to promote awareness. However, such activities also need to occur at the state and local levels, and thus we encourage all libraries and related institutions to take action as well.
    -Jazzy Wright, Press Officer

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