The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project’s new report shows that e-reader and tablet ownership nearly doubled nationally over the holidays from 18% to 29%. So, what does this mean to libraries? An increased demand for e-books and library instruction on using various e-readers. Sadly, due to publisher restrictions and limits, library users will not find the wide variety of titles they’ve enjoyed in print in e-book format. ALA’s new Digital Content and Libraries Working Group, is working to push back against publishers who refuse to give libraries rights to their digital content.
Larra Clark of the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy writes “In addition to the content divide that currently exists for those seeking e-books through their libraries, the Pew report also surfaces a new “device divide.” While 36 percent of people from families with annual incomes greater than $75,000 have a mobile reading device, only 8 percent of those with incomes below $30,000 report this is the case. In our effort to create and support a nation of readers and lifelong learners, these divides pose significant challenges to our values and ability to meet community needs.” The Pew report reenforces how integral it is for libraries to stay current and keep thinking about new strategies to engage with their communities.