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Public library and users' lifestyle in a changing context

Haruki Nagata (University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan)
Kanako Sakai (Institute of Developing Economies Library, Chiba, Japan)
Tetsuya Kawai (TFC Co. Ltd, Tokyo, Japan)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Article publication date: 6 November 2007




The purpose of this paper is to show that in a time of dramatic social change and progress in information communications technology, surveys and analysis were used to identify residents' lifestyles and their views and attitudes toward public libraries.


Two series of surveys were conducted in suburban/rural cities of Japan in 2004 and 2006. The first survey was across all local residents, and the second among library users. The results of these surveys were analyzed in depth, and different lifestyle groups were identified. Library use by each of these groups was investigated in detail.


The findings demonstrate that those who positively appreciated the various benefits of the public library tended to be frequent/regular visitors and to belong to the “Group of ‘actively striving’” and the “Group of ‘respecting others’” in the 2004 survey, and similar types of group in the 2006 survey. In addition, the 2006 survey also showed that the visitors include those who were not necessarily conscious about library services, and 10 per cent of the respondents were not much interested in them at all.

Practical implications

The results demonstrate that the libraries acquire new user groups according to their service innovations. However, it was found that people have already started to utilize search engines on the internet, regardless of the presence/absence of the corresponding service in the library to acquire various types of information.


This paper re‐examines the traditional understanding of the user profile of public libraries, and demonstrates a tool to help identify changes in use and users.



Nagata, H., Sakai, K. and Kawai, T. (2007), "Public library and users' lifestyle in a changing context", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 197-210.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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