Library Journal Releases Groundbreaking Publication on Who Uses Libraries and Why

First Issue Library Patrons and Ebook Usage Now Available

Library Journal's Patron ProfilesYou will never think of library users the same way again. Case in point: regular public library users don’t just borrow books. They are also active books buyers who make many of their purchasing decisions based on the authors or books they first discover in the library. In fact, over 50 percent of all library users go on to purchase books by an author they were introduced to in the library. This finding is just one of the many key insights to emerge from “Library Patrons and Ebook Usage,” the first issue of Library Journal’s Patron Profiles: Understanding the behavior and preferences of U.S. public library users. Based on in-depth research among a national sample of nearly 2500 participants and Library Journal editorial analysis, this groundbreaking study—the first to target library consumers in the context of all consumers—unveils who uses public libraries, why they use them, and how that use may change.

Patron Profiles looks at the library patron as consumer of content—physical and digital—and analyzes the relationship between the library and other channels, from brick-and-mortar bookstores to ebooks to Netflix,” said Ian Singer, Library Journal’s VP and Group Publisher. “At a time of rapid technological and social change, librarians, publishers and technology providers need to understand consumer attitudes while developing approaches to meet market demand and needs, and this in-depth research will help inform strategic planning.”

Other significant findings include:

  • Power Patrons, those library users who visit the library at least weekly, drive much of the library’s circulation, are active consumers—and buyers—of all media, including ebooks, and vote at a higher rate than other patrons.
  • The Ebook Patrons, a small but highly engaged group who prefer reading ebooks, are active users of social networks, and utilize the library’s full range of digital offerings more than other patrons. Overall, ebook patrons demonstrate strong loyalty to digital formats.
  • Face and place matter. While library collections were the top reason for library visits, interaction with the library staff and the ambience of libraries themselves drew the highest satisfaction ratings.

Patron Profiles is powered by Bowker PubTrack™ Consumer. Sections includes: Who Uses Public Libraries?, The Media-Rich World of the Library User, The Library Borrower as Buyer, The Library Ebooks Users, Drivers and Barriers, and What Patrons Value.

Patron Profiles is sponsored at the Diamond level by Proquest; at the Platinum level by Baker & Taylor; and at the Gold level by Random House and The Rowman & Littlefield Group.

While Patron Profiles will continue to collect trending data on digital consumption and new reading technologies, each issue has a specific focus. In 2012, look for: MobileDevices,MobileContent, and Library Apps (Jan., 2012), Library Web Sites and Virtual Services (April, 2012), and Media Consumption and Library Use (July 2012).

Visit for more information. For those seeking greater depth of results, a subscription to the Real-Time Reporting services is highly recommended; please call 800-588-1030 or email


Founded in 1876, Library Journal is one of the oldest and most respected publications covering the library field. Over 100,000 library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries read LJLibrary Journal reviews over 8,000 books, audiobooks, videos, databases, and Web sites annually, and provides coverage of technology, management, policy, and other professional concerns. For more information, visit libraryjournal.comLibrary Journal is a publication of Media Source Inc., which also owns School Library JournalThe Horn Book Magazine, and Junior Library Guild.


PubTrack™ Consumer is the publishing industry’s premier resource for understanding consumer buying behavior, derived from information gathered from a nationwide panel of 20,000 adult men, women, and teens who complete weekly online surveys about their book purchasing behavior. It’s accurate, reliable, and actionable behavioral and attitudinal information enables tactical and strategic business decisions based on real-world consumer tastes, preferences, and buying habits.

PubTrack™ Consumer is a service of Bowker, a member of the ProQuest family of companies. 


Contact: Krista Rafanello
Library Journal