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Neighbourhood Libraries

This new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project is right on about the ways in which people interact locally. We all have our professional, national, and global identities and beyond but we live in neighbourhoods and we usually have a great neighbourhood library. This data is very useful to branch library planning:

Neighbors Online

“Americans use a range of approaches to keep informed about what is happening in their communities and online activities have been added to the mix. Face-to-face encounters and phone calls remain the most frequent methods of interaction with neighbors. At the same time, internet tools are gaining ground in community-oriented communications.

In a poll conducted at the end of last year, we asked about online connections to communities and neighbors and found that in the twelve months preceding our survey:

• 22% of all adults (representing 28% of internet users) signed up to receive alerts about local issues (such as traffic, school events, weather warnings or crime alerts) via email or text messaging.
• 20% of all adults (27% of internet users) used digital tools to talk to their neighbors and keep informed about community issues.
Overall, physical personal encounters remain the primary way people stay informed about community issues. In the twelve months preceding our survey:

• 46% of Americans talked face-to-face with neighbors about community issues
• 21% discussed community issues over the telephone
• 11% read a blog dealing with community issues
• 9% exchanged emails with neighbors about community issues and 5% say they belong to a community email listserv
• 4% communicated with neighbors by text messaging on cell phones
• 4% joined a social network site group connected to community issues
• 2% followed neighbors using Twitter
Additionally, 22% of adult Americans have signed up to receive alerts about community issues via text or email. This includes anyone who has signed up for alerts about one or more of the following issues:

• School events, such as school closings (13% of all adults have signed up for such alerts)
• Warnings about bad weather (11%)
• Crime in one’s neighborhood (5%)
• Traffic congestion or road closings (4%)”

Now just consider how popular these sorts of services would be if they were promoted to library cardholders! This could also be a great partnership with other community resources and schools as well as mining the deep well of trust and support for libraries.


Posted on: June 22, 2010, 10:14 pm Category: Uncategorized

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