Cheers to Meredith for pointing out so quickly this report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project: “Information searches that solve problems.” Hallelujah! The report has a great deal of useful information about the information- and library-using habits of people. Some of it is rather disturbing; people often think of using libraries for their information needs, but then don’t. Library use in some demographics is declining.
Rather than dwell on these negatives, I want to focus on one particular positive point. People need information! They have real-world demands that can be met with library collections. There is a marketing problem here to resolve, to be sure. Some folks are hesitant to use libraries when they should. This calls, to some extent, for an outreach solution, but in the end library customers need information. Marketing will get them in the door, but then we need to deliver the goods. Collections need to be at hand or accessible in some way. A 2.0 library can cultivate community, enable user participation, but the biggest 2.0 victory is in providing access to information and the means to do something with it.