We have a new report out today, a typology of Americans’ engagement with public libraries. It caps off the past three years of research the Pew Research Center has produced on the topic of public libraries’ changing role in Americans’ lives and communities.

Some of the main findings:

  • Americans’ library habits do not exist in a vacuum: People’s connection—or lack of connection—with public libraries is part of their broader information and social landscape. As a rule, people who have extensive economic, social, technological, and cultural resources are also more likely to use and value libraries as part of those networks. 
  • Life stage and special circumstances are linked to increased library use and higher engagement with information: Deeper connections with public libraries are often associated with key life moments such as having a child, seeking a job, being a student, and going through a situation in which research and data can help inform a decision.
  • Technology users are generally library users: A common narrative is that Americans are turning away from libraries because of newer technology, but the data shows that most highly-engaged library users are also big technology users. 

Check out the full report on our website! And if you’re curious about the basic data, this earlier report summarizes the measures we used to explore Americans’ engagement with public libraries.