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Yes, “A Terrible Title”

(Update: One correction below!)

Over on his blog, while discussing what he calls “yet another public library perceptions report,” Lorcan Dempsey remarks on the “terrible title” employed for the report, “Long Overdue: A Fresh Look at Public and Leadership Attitudes about Libraries in the 21st Century” (grab the PDF here–must they all be in PDF..?) from the Americans for Libraries Council.

The title was such a turnoff for me that I haven’t bothered reading the report. In peeking at it now–to make sure that link worked, I had to open the humongous PDF–I see some findings that interest me, such as only “26 percent give an ‘A’ for having enough computers and online services in the library for the people who want to use them,” and 76% of the respondents highly value self-service. Then there’s the statistic that “98.9% [of public libraries] offered public access to the Internet”: [what about those ten percent that don’t? I’d like to hear more about that group] correction: um, I guess that’s pretty good!

I wonder if it’s time to survey the survey designers and see what their perceptions are. What do they believe about the changing nature of information? What assumptions do they bring to the table in designing surveys for the “public”? What’s important to them? What is a library service to this group?

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