In late December 2008 the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released the findings of a survey that indicated that the Internet has now surpassed all other media except television as an outlet for national and international news. Following is a graph from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press which outlines the trend in news seeking behaviour over the last decade.
This is of interest because in November 2008 I blogged about the dedicated sports and gaming lounge in the Brisbane City Library. At the time, I noted that the rational behind the use of large screen TV in the library dedicated to sport was that "in the past people got their sporting information from the newspapers. Now more and more people get their sporting information from either the Internet or pay TV. So if you can't afford the internet or pay TV, and don't want to go to a pub to watch Fox Sport, you are stuck."
With the use of print newspapers declining, and the majority (70%) of people using TV as a news source, the Pew research seems to back up and validate the Brisbane City Library approach. However, it looks as though the use of TV a medium is also declining. This is especially true for young people. For example, the Pew summary states that: "For young people,... the internet now rivals television as a main source of national and international news. Nearly six-in-ten Americans younger than 30 (59%) say they get most of their national and international news online; an identical percentage cites television. In September 2007, twice as many young people said they relied mostly on television for news than mentioned the internet (68% vs. 34%)."
What was also interesting about the Pew research is that the top news stories people followed closely online all related to the state of the economy.
This research vindicates the continued trend for libraries to acquire less in the way of print resources, and more in the way of online content, or at very least the technology to facilitate online content within the "library as place".
"Library as place", along with free access to large screens is important, because with the expected increase in the use of portable devices, why do you need to come into a library? In the short term people may still come into a library to access online as well as TV content because it may be more appealing than the small screen on a portable device. In the long term the appeal will probably be the social interaction.
Cinemas learnt this lesson when video players took off in the early 1980s. Yes, you could watch a movie at home, but what was mising was the social interaction, sharing the popcorn and choc top ice creams. So while we will be able to access content, as well as learn and collaborate using a portable device on a train or walking down the street, will we still crave for that third (public and free) place away from home and work... a.k.a. a library?