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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Pew Research Center released new findings that showed about 70 percent of Americans browse or borrow print books from the library.

However, about 50 percent also said they visit the library to sit, read, study and watch or listen to media.

Patrick Reakes, chair of Library West, said although UF libraries circulate a lot of books and e-books, the study rooms and computers are the primary attractions to students.

“Anecdotally, it’s kind of a destination thing,” Reakes said. “There are social reasons to come here.”

UF biochemistry junior Evan Broggi, 23, said the library is a sanctuary away from distractions and an excellent place to study.

“People come for the atmosphere, not the resources,” he said.

The study found that libraries were valued in their communities, but people didn’t know all the services they had to offer. Americans in the study said what would entice them to use library services more.

About 35 percent of those surveyed highly requested library services, such as Ask a Librarian, applications for collections, GPS library maps and technology petting zoos, which are stations where technology is brought in to sample.

However, at the George A. Smathers Libraries, many of those ideas are already in practice.

“It’s really interesting because so many things on the list we’re already doing,” said

Diane Bruxvoort, a senior associate dean of the Smathers Libraries.

Reakes said the Ask a Librarian tool is already available, and RSS feeds from the catalog collection app are open to the public. He said a Google building search for inside UF libraries is in the works.

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UF libraries also offer workshops on how to utilize technology, and Bruxvoort said iPads will be available for students to check out within a few weeks.

“Our goal is to support the teaching and learning of the students and the researching of the faculty on this campus, ” she said.

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