ala 2013 notes from the myth and reality of the evolving patron

The Myth and the Reality of the Evolving Patron: The RUSA President’s Program with Lee Rainie was held on Saturday, June 29th. Rainie is the Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.

The twitter hashtag is #rusapres13 and video of the presentation is now available from RUSA. You can also view the slides from the program (totally worth it!). Here are some facts that caught my attention:

The tech revolution changed patron experience through evolutions driven by: purpose of engagement and need; life stage; life stressors (time demands, urgency); demographics; and library innovation.

More education means more library use but minorities and poor are more likely to ask librarians for help.

Youth are most likely to use the library space as a hangout space.

Borrowing print books still the dominant use of the public library.

one of the many great cat themed slides from Rainie's presentation!
one of the many great cat themed slides from Rainie’s presentation!

68% of Americans have Broadband at home. Because of this, video viewing has become an important way to view content.

With the democratization of the media sphere, there are actually more arguments happening in our culture. Libraries are now functioning as commons or referees for these arguments.

91% of Americans have cell phones and 56% of these are smartphones. “Smartphones are for snacking,” Rainie said.

Libraries are now dealing with attention zone change – now at “continuous partial attention.” This means more desire for just -in-time searches.

61% of all adults are involved in some form of online social networking. Facebook is still the dominant social media site. However, the composition and character of people’s social networks have changed. They are now channels of learning, trust, and influence. People are using social networks as “The Daily Me” (news) and, in a sense, have created personalized information databases and act as the gatekeepers. Also, now everyone has an audience.

People like self-directed information seeking but they hate the noise and distractions that come with being your own gatekeeper.

“New scarcity is not information, it’s time,” said Rainie.

Rainie noted that because people’s needs change, libraries have the opportunity to be newly relevant to a new group of people.