[Libs-Or] Gallop poll on library visits

Penelope Hummel penny at pennyhummel.com
Sun Jan 26 09:34:49 PST 2020

Thanks for posting this, Ross—I appreciate your digging into the data and identifying some food for thought for us public library folks.  We are all prone to basking in the glow of how our super users love us, rather than thinking critically about what we need to do to reach the ones who don’t use us at all.  



Penny Hummel

Penny Hummel Consulting

penny at pennyhummel.com






From: Libs-Or <libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us> on behalf of Ross Fuqua via Libs-Or <libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us>
Reply-To: Ross Fuqua <Ross.Fuqua at state.or.us>
Date: Friday, January 24, 2020 at 4:09 PM
To: Libs-OR <libs-or at listsmart.osl.state.or.us>, "pl-directors at listsmart.osl.state.or.us" <pl-directors at listsmart.osl.state.or.us>
Subject: [Libs-Or] Gallop poll on library visits


Hello library folks,


Gallop just released some findings today from a recent poll of U.S. adults’ common leisure activities, and it puts libraries at the top of a list of cultural activities that participants were asked about. We’re more popular than going to a movie these days which is, of course, great! Their brief report breaks down responses by age, gender, region, household income, and whether they are living with children under 18. No big surprises here, although respondents without children reported a slightly higher library visit rate which seems a bit odd to me….


Anyway, when I saw how low their median response was, I dug a bit deeper into their methodology and complete responses (there’s a PDF at the bottom of the webpage – or download it here) and I’d suggest anyone who’s interested to take a look, too. What jumped out at me was the following response percentage breakdown (see 3 of the PDF). When asked “How many times in the past year, if any, did you…visit a library?”:

38% answered none
9% answered once
10% answered twice
12% answered 3-5 times
5% answered 6-9 times
26% answered 10 or more times

This I think confirms what many of us know already – that we have strong usage from our “uber patrons,” but that there are significant parts of our communities that we aren’t reaching. There is also another usage trend to be considered, which this poll doesn’t capture: the rise of the “virtual patron” (i.e., the folks who are strong users of e-content, but don’t have a need to physically visit their library). 


There is some interesting social demographic info that Gallop shares from the poll on the last page (page 5) of the supplementary PDF that might be of interest as well.


Happy Friday!


Ross Fuqua

Data & Federal Programs Consultant

503-378-5027 | oregon.gov/library/libraries

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