Saturday, March 25, 2017

Teens, Technology, and Libraries: An Uncertain Relationship

Thoai Truong

Agosto, D.E. Magee, R. M.  Dickard, M.  Forte, A. (2016, July). Teens, technology, and libraries: An
          uncertain relationship. Library Quarterly, 86(3), 248-269. Retrieved from   

Descriptive Summary:

The goal of this study is to find the relationship betwee teens, libraries, and technology.  25 high school students were surveyed and interviewed at an urban magnet public school.  They all volunteered and were paid $20 for their time.  Students were asked about their most recent library visit.  What exactly did the do in the library and why?  The data collected revealed that most students use the library for social interaction and leisure opportunities.  Most claimed that their limited library use was due to a library being equated with books.  They also viewed the library as having limited resources.  The physical space of the library became a place to do things for non library purposes.  Overall, the library was not a place where students were seeking to use technology.  Most had access to the Internet and computer at home. There were a small number of students that enjoyed checking out books over e-books.


Although the research only surveyed 25 students, it provided insight into the thinking of teenagers. Today most families have Internet access at home and a smart phone, which makes information retrieval at the library not very important.  Their reasoning and purpose for library use makes sense. I would like more students to be interviewed. I would also like to see if this is the same sentiment across the United States. Follow up questions allowed for more understanding to their reasons for using/not using the library. I like the fact that the researchers allowed the students to define the library.

Perhaps we are seeing more maker spaces and learning commons taking shape in libraries due to this attitude by teenagers.  Libraries are trying to draw in patrons, and need to find alternative ways, besides technology, which is no longer the main draw to libraries.

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