Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources (2005) [OCLC - OCLC Reports]
: "The findings indicate that information consumers view libraries as places to borrow print books, but they are unaware of the rich electronic content they can access through libraries. Even though information consumers make limited use of these resources, they continue to trust libraries as reliable sources of information."
I've been noticing that in response to the results of the OCLC survey and iCONN's own market/public awareness and perception survey, some librarians are flagellating themselves over the fact that the library brand (or, to a lesser degree, the iCONN brand) needs considerably more publicity than it has had to remain relevant. These findings - while clearly a "call to action" for librarians - do not indicate that we've failed in doing our jobs. No, in fact, conducting the survey to be able to better respond to changing user needs means that we're doing
iCONN is just four years old (will be five this spring), a very new service. And yet, we have 100% user satisfaction rates when it comes to the information we provide. We have tremendous room for growth in public awareness. We hadn't focused on publicizing iCONN to Connecticut's residents in a general way - at least we hadn't done so until the project got the opportunity to have an Outreach Coordinator (this summer). We relied on our already overburdened libraries as our primary means of getting the word out to the public. While that was a good "first wave" strategy, we see a lot of room for growth among Connecticut's residents with more coordinated and targeted public relations emanating from iCONN itself.
I look at these surveys and say, "At last!" Like the 51-year-old U.S. respondent cited in the OCLC survey "I think this survey is right on track. The libraries should look at community spaces like Starbucks and Borders, and should also look at the value of online material like Google, and they should try to be more relevant in the current age." (4-8)
I couldn't have said it better myself. So now I'll return to the work at hand, which is to say, publicizing the service we offer and improving it whenever and however it is possible to do so.