Pew Surveys of Public Librarians and Public Library Patrons

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding a national research effort  to study the changing role of librarians, library users, and the general public in the digital age.  The Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project is conducting the surveys and analyzing the data as related to reading/e-reading; changes in library services and the choices libraries are making; and if/how the digital age is changing how people use books and libraries.

Chances are you have heard the name of the Pew Research Center in the national media.  The organization is a highly-respected, national leader in non-partisan public research.  With Pew and the Gates Foundation spearheading these efforts, we will get the kind of data-driven information we need to address changing community needs now and in the future. But, it cannot happen without your input.

The first major report in this series was just released and examines the “rise of e-reading” and how people find/consume digital content (i.e. e-books). The report, which is fascinating and includes some amazing findings, can be found at

Your help is needed in two ways for the next report to be successful.  This report will look specifically at people’s experiences in public libraries, especially their use of e-books & other digital services. To gather this research, Pew has developed two (2) online surveys:

  1. The first survey is targeted at people who work in public libraries. It is available at and takes about 15 minutes. To log in, respondents use their preferred email address as their username; the password is PEWLIBS.
  2. The second survey is for patrons of local public libraries. It is available at and also takes about 15 minutes. This survey is not password protected.

Both surveys will be available until May 18th.

Public library participation is needed in two ways – 1) to complete the public library staff survey and 2) to encourage their users to complete the patron survey.

The results of these surveys will provide very valuable information for all of us.

Thank you for your help with this project.


Martha Reid

State Librarian

Vermont Department of Libraries