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Trustworthy, reliable information available at the public library

Oct. 27, 2017
by Mark Ollig

In a recent poll, our friends at Pew Research Center discovered something about millennials yours truly found a bit surprising.

Millennials, according to Pew, are those between the ages of 18 to 35.

They’ve grown up being as comfortable around gaming technology, online social media, and the web as us baby boomers (age 52 to 70) were with playing “Kick the Can,” “Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots,” and making sure we headed home at night when the streetlights came on.

But I digress.

What surprised me was learning 87 percent of millennials polled by Pew Research, specified the public library as a valuable source for providing them with “trustworthy and reliable information.”

I would have thought the internet alone was their preferred source, but this is not what Pew’s latest survey reveals.

Pew also reported 74 percent of boomers polled felt the same as millennials regarding the public library.

Training for a specific profession was mentioned by 55 percent of adults surveyed, as one of the useful resources found in a public library.

It’s 2017; we are living in the age of digital tools, such as smartphones, iPads, tablets, and other computing devices with internet connections.

A library’s resources were cited by adults as helpful for learning a new skill, gaining confidence in using computers and smartphones on the internet, as well as assisting in researching credible online sources.

Pew’s survey discovery of a large percentage of young folks finding confidence in obtaining dependable and reliable information from the public library – not from a random web link found on the internet – says a lot.

In fact, 85 percent of millennials polled acknowledge the people working at public libraries are helping them to research and learn new things.

With all the questionable information and content being purported as “news” or “fact” online, it is easy to become confused and even misled about social topics of the day, or what might be presented as fact or truth by folks with a hidden agenda.

In today’s much-talked-about internet “fake news” environment, it appears many young people are experiencing healthy online skepticism, and are utilizing the resources of a public library to further research and investigate content of various subject matter.

It’s reassuring, knowing they want to verify the accuracy of information they are seeing posted on their online social media networks.

Pew reports 78 percent of adults also feel public libraries assist them in obtaining trustworthy and reliable information, and support their desire for learning new things.

When surveyed as a whole, 65 percent of Americans said libraries “help them grow as people,” while 49 percent believe libraries allow them to “focus on things that matter in their lives.”

A public library provides a community with a wealth of educational and recreational materials and resources.

One advantage of visiting your local library is having experienced human expertise and guidance assisting the person researching a specific subject, or in learning a new language.

Their resources include videos, eBooks, audiobooks, and other physical media; in addition to computers, internet resources, story reading, income tax forms and information, and, of course, books on every subject.

These resources and more are available to the public through their local library.

The following websites link to city public libraries in and around my hometown:

https://www.winsted.lib.mn.us;

https://griver.org/locations/howard-lake;

https://griver.org/locations/delano;

https://griver.org/locations/cokato;

https://www.pioneerland.lib.mn.us/dassel/;

https://www.carverlib.org/locations/watertown;

www.hclib.org/about/locations/maple-plain.

I encourage my readers to visit their local public library and explore the many resources they have to offer.

Follow me on Twitter at @bitsandbytes, and be sure to visit my blog at bitscolumn.blogspot.com.


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