News Release Archive

Ninety-eight per cent of Nova Scotians see their public libraries
as an essential or very important service, a recent survey
released by the Nova Scotia Provincial Library shows.

High praise was also given to library staffs as more than 90 per
cent of respondents rated staff knowledge and helpfulness to be
good or excellent.
"This report is an overwhelming endorsement for our public
libraries and the people who work and volunteer within them,"
said Robbie Harrison, education and culture minister. "This
confirms that our public libraries continue to meet the
challenges of today at the same time as looking forward to the

The survey also confirmed the strong link between Nova Scotia
schools and public libraries. According to their parents, 90 per
cent of elementary students had visited a library in the last
year. Eighty per cent of junior high students and 81 per cent of
high school students made the same claim.

Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed had visited a public library
at least once in the past 12 months, and many respondents
considered themselves current users. The report found that levels
of use among adult Nova Scotians varied depending on age, ages of
children, level of education and place of residence. Current
users were more likely to have young children, live in an urban
area and be well-educated. One-half of current users were between
the ages of 25 and 44.

The most frequently used library products were books for personal
use followed by use of reference materials, periodicals, and
tapes, CDs and videos. Seventy-six per cent of library users also
made use of assistance offered by library staff. And users were
satisfied with the service they received, scoring a 4.7 on a
scale of five.

The public also supported a range of funding alternatives,
including a redirection of existing government funds, community
fund-raising, corporate sponsorships and user fees for selected
services and products. When asked specifically, 61 per cent of
respondents supported or strongly supported user fees on services
not considered absolutely essential such as audio and video
materials, Internet access and inter-library loans.

Most respondents, however, opposed user fees for essential
products and services such as reference materials, special books,
assistance by library staff and children's programs.

The report, conducted by Omnifacts Research Ltd., was the first
study of its kind in Nova Scotia and was undertaken to determine
how Nova Scotians use and perceive their public libraries. It
measured public attitudes toward libraries and presented library
officials with a foundation for future planning and program

Data was collected by a telephone survey of 1,200 adult Nova
Scotians. Partners in the project included the Department of
Education and Culture, the Library Boards Association of Nova
Scotia, Nova Scotia Library Association and the Council of
Regional Librarians.

Mr. Harrison supported the efforts of all partners in producing
the research report, which he said gives the libraries a
much-needed benchmark.

"Our libraries will continue to play an important role in
education. This report allows our library partners to examine
their roles and establish clear goals for the future."

To receive a copy of the report, contact the Nova Scotia
Provincial Library at 902-424-2457 or a local regional library.


Contact: Marion Pape
         Provincial librarian

         Doug Hadley
         Education and Culture
         cell: 902-499-0264 

trp                 May 26, 1997 - 10:30 a.m.