In a cultural moment that rings with cries of “fake news” and warnings that the Internet and social media can lead us into biased echo chambers, the Pew Research Center reports that a majority of Americans feel that public libraries help them find trustworthy and reliable information, learn new things, and make informed decisions.
The survey analysis, published by Pew earlier this year, also reports that Millennials — those in the 18 to 35 age range — show both a higher usage of libraries and a greater confidence in libraries as a source of information, with 87% reporting that the library helps them find information that is trustworthy and reliable.
Blacks and Hispanics are more likely than whites to believe that training available from libraries would help them, both with gathering reliable information from online resources and in learning to use digital tools. In a breakdown by education level, those without a high school diploma are more likely than those with at least a bachelor’s degree to think training would help. And women are slightly more likely than men to think libraries help them find information that is trustworthy and reliable, learn new things, grow as a person, focus on things that matter in their lives, and cope with a busy world.
In aggregate, the survey found the following regarding Americans’ perceptions of public libraries:
- 78% feel that public libraries help them find information that is trustworthy and reliable.
- 76% say libraries help them learn new things.
- 65% say libraries help them grow as people.
- 49% think libraries help them focus on things that matter in their lives.
- 43% believe libraries help them cope with a busy world.
- 38% say libraries help them cope with a world where it’s hard to get ahead.
- 27% think libraries help them protect their personal data from online thieves.
You can read the full article about the survey on the Pew Research Center website:
Graphics and data content for this post come from the Pew Research Center: