The folks at the Pew Internet and American Life project have just released a new report entitled Information Searches That Solve Problems.
The focus of the survey was how Americans address common problems that might be linked to government. The problems covered in the survey: 1) dealing with a serious illness or health concern; 2) making a decision about school enrollment, financing school, or upgrading work skills; 3) dealing with a tax matter; 4) changing a job or starting a business; 5) getting information about Medicare, Medicaid, or food stamps; 6) getting information about Social Security or military benefits; 7) getting information about voter registration or a government policy; 8) seeking helping on a local government matter such as a traffic problem or schools; 9) becoming involved in a legal matter; and 10) becoming a citizen or helping another person with an immigration matter.On the Pew blog Lee Rainie points out that part of the purpose for this survey was "to find out how libraries and government agencies might function in the new information order." And to that end Lee touts the somewhat surprising finding "that those who live in the Gen Y generation (18-30) cohort are more likely than their elders to use libraries when they face problems. Those in Gen Y are also more likely to patronize libraries for all kinds of reasons."
But what I found depressing was in the summary of the report where they list where folks went for help, and down at the bottom of the list were these two categories:
- 16% said they consulted television and radio.
- 13% said they went to the public library.
View PDF of Report
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