Pew has foundation money to do research about public libraries and has put up a slide set of a recent report on the “library use” phase of their study, part 2, focusing on tech trends. (You may remember “state of reading” report, which seemed to focus mostly on e-reading).
Public Libraries and Ebooks come up as a predictable source of confusion (patrons are interested, but don’t know they are available). And there are legal, business, and operational issues with “lending” them. of course. More surprising to me was the finding that libraries are “still for books” and “browsing” for a lot of people, including young people. I go to the public library often, and it seems that at least 50% of the activity at any given time is browsing, but the Internet, not the stacks. Database access is highly rated too; I’m guessing this is for paid subscription services, that you can get free via public library membership. (Ancestry.com and Oxford University Press both work this way.)
The slides are up and don’t take long to zip through.