Adults Still Feel that Libraries are Relevant



What To Do With The Kids (WTDWTK) asked adults if they thought public libraries were relevant anymore. They were also asked if they or their kids used public libraries and why or why not.

What To Do With The Kids asked adults through Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and email to submit their views and 301 people responded. The results are not scientific and are solely based on all responses received.

When asked if libraries were relevant, an overwhelming 97% said yes. Only 4 respondents said no and another 4 didn’t answer the question. Those that responded no explained that everything they ever needed from a library is now available on the internet. They also responded that they would rather purchase the books they wanted online in either a printed or electronic version than make a trip to the library.

Of those who believed libraries were still relevant, almost all were passionate about their reasons. The top responses are:

  • Libraries are Affordable: Almost half of the responses (48.5%) mentioned that the library and its services are affordable to everyone especially to low income families and families with 3 or more kids.
  • The second most popular response was receiving help from the Librarian. 34% of users mentioned that they relied on Librarians to help them start any type of research or to suggest reading material. Many noted that using a Librarian before starting their research helped them complete their work faster. Others noted that Librarians were an excellent resource for parents looking for kid’s books for certain reading levels.
  • Selection was third on the list with many raving about how many types of books, videos and audio material was available.
  • Kid’s programs were another popular reason. Many felt the library encouraged kids to read.
  • Although the internet is a popular and easy choice for research, many in our report felt that the information found at the library was by far more qualified, researched and legitimate than information found on the internet. Many sited Wikipedia and personal blogs as extremely unreliable sources for information that many people, including students, may rely on for their information.
  • Libraries are also used as a meeting place (25%) and provide users with a warm and comfortable feeling (17%) when they are there.
  • Parents felt that a library was a safe place (14%) to send their kids.
  • Although the internet is something that many take for granted, 25% of respondents said they either use the computers themselves or know people who use them since they don’t have access to a computer or the internet at home. Painfully slow dial-up at home was also a popular reason for using the library`s computers.
  • A number of people also used the library to review books, especially those in a series, before purchasing a copy for themselves (7%).

When asked if they actually use the library, 6% of the total respondents said no and another 6% didn`t answer the question. Reasons ranged from no interest anymore to inconvenience.

When asked if their kids used the library, almost 66% said their kids did. Many parents noted that the library was an ideal way to encourage reading while providing an inviting and safe place to be.

Adults we’re also asked what they thought concerning the future of libraries. Responses included:

  • 12% said that libraries were being threatened with budget cuts.
  • 10.5% said that libraries should offer more electronic versions of books (e-books).
  • 5.5% said libraries should promote themselves more to the community.


The results of the following 301 responses are:

Are libraries relevant?          Yes –97.3%          No – 1.3%          Didn’t Answer - 1.3%

Do you use libraries?          Yes –87.4%          No –6.3%          Didn’t Answer –6.3%

Do your children use the library?          Yes –65.8%          No –7.6%          Didn’t Answer/No Kids–25%

Why do you use the library?

  • It`s affordable/free           48.5%
  • For help from Librarian           34%
  • Wide selection           30.5%
  • Kid programs           30%
  • Qualified and reliable information          29%
  • Meeting Place           25%
  • To use the computers/internet          25%
  • To encourage kids to read          18%
  • It`s a warm place to be           17%
  • It`s a safe place for kids           14%
  • To review material before they buy          7%


Why do you not use the library?

  • Everything is available online          6%
  • I buy the books I want           1.5%


What does the future hold for libraries?

  • They are threatened by budget cuts          11.9%
  • Should offer more e-books           10.5%
  • Should promote themselves more          5.5%
  • Should expand to meet community needs          3%


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