By Brita Zitin
Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, knows how to win over a roomful of librarians, as he proved at the RUSA President’s Program, where he was the keynote speaker. He’s generous with both his flattery (“Every day spent with librarians is a good day”) and his cat photos (the feline census of his slideshow reached well into the double digits). But he also delivers—in abundance—what information professionals really want: reliable data that makes library work more meaningful.
The research pursued by Rainie and his colleagues at the Pew Internet and American Life Project covers library use on the national level and cannot substitute for insight into a particular community gathered through the kind of deep listening advocated by the Harwood Institute [http://www.ala.org/transforminglibraries/libraries-transforming-communities]. Still, Rainie has a talent for translating these broad strokes into practical tips. Drawing on Pew’s recent report “Parents, Children, Libraries, and Reading,” he said, “If you want to figure out who loves you most, it’s parents of minor children, and within that, the moms. Romance the moms.” Read more…