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Understanding Our Users

July 10, 2013

Two recent reports offer insight on our core library users–faculty and students. An April report from Ithaka reveals how our faculty do research and communicate with each other, while a June report from Pew Internet shows what young adults expect from the library. Those of us with daily contact with our library’s users may not find many earth shattering revelations in these reports, but they may provide data to reinforce assumptions, observations, or even local assessment of users with national data on scholarly research trends and user expectations. When communicating with faculty and administrators about library initiatives, these reports may offer valuable support.

Ithaka’s US Faculty Survey 2012 provides “insight into the evolving attitudes and practices of faculty members in the context of substantial environmental change for higher education.” From the report:

Major topics covered by the survey include:

  • Research processes: The processes through which scholars perform their research, focusing principally on the use of research materials in secondary and primary research.
  • Teaching practices: The pedagogical methods that faculty members are adopting and the ways that they draw on content and support services in their teaching.
  • Scholarly communications:Formal and informal methods by which scholars communicate with each other, the ways in which the types of materials and information exchanged in these processes are evolving, and needs for various kinds of publishing support services.
  • The library: How faculty members perceive the roles and value of their institutional library, touching on the roles the library plays in supporting many of the above activities.
  • Scholarly societies:How faculty members perceive the roles and value of their primary scholarly society, including in supporting both formal and informal communications between scholars.

And few highlights from Pew Internet’s Younger Americans’ Library Habits and Expectations:

  • The under-30 age group remains anchored in the digital age, but retains a strong relationship with print media and an affinity for libraries.
  • 60% of younger patrons say they go to the library to study, sit and read, or watch or listen to media, significantly more than the 45% of older patrons who do this. And a majority of Americans of all age groups say libraries should have more comfortable spaces for reading, working, and relaxing.
  • 72% say quiet study spaces are “very important.”

Readers, are there other reports or articles you want to share? Please leave them in the comments!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Full Article permalink
    August 24, 2013 4:53 pm

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