In April, we launched the 60-second survey, “Libraries and the Economic Recession.” This survey was prompted by several news articles discussing the recession’s impact on libraries and librarians.
We wanted to know what folks on the front lines had observed about the economy, and how the recession had impacted their work and their career plans. Nearly 500 people responded.
The results indicate that libraries are indeed seeing increases in use and requests for assistance, and librarians are feeling the squeeze themselves.
When asked, “In the last 12 months, have you had to help more library patrons with the following services,” 70 percent selected “computer use,” which included help with software and Internet searching. More than three in five (66%) said they’ve had more requests for assistance with job-seeking activities, such as online job applications and resume preparation.
Similarly, when asked, “In the last 12 months, have you personally noticed an increase in use of the following resources in your library,” 67 percent reported increases in public access computer use by patrons, while more than half said they’ve noticed an increase in library visits (63%) and circulation of materials (54%).
When asked, “To better serve patrons, do you feel a need for additional professional training in any of the following areas,” nearly half of the respondents (46%) indicated they could use training on available public assistance/social programs.
When asked, “As a result of the current economic downturn, do you feel a need for additional training in any of the following areas for your own professional development,” more than two in five (44%) said they would benefit from stress management training. One in three (31%) indicated they could use additional training on how to deal with difficult patrons.
In addition, more than half the respondents shared personal observations about how the recession is impacting their libraries and their patrons.
More detail about the results of this 60-second survey will be published in an upcoming edition of Fast Facts. Let us know what you think about the recession’s impact on libraries by leaving a comment below.