21st Century Patrons – Revisited


Last February I published a series of posts about 21st Century Patrons, and defined three categories of patrons: Traditional, Digital Immigrant, and Digital Native. I also presented a chart of the three categories in 21st Century Library Patrons, and an embedded YouTube video of Jason Dorsey, the “Gen Y Guy”, at 21st Century Librarian Profession with his entertaining demonstration of the generation differences.

As Jason stated – “If you try to stick everybody into a box, eventually they won’t fit. What I’m giving you are simply clues.” (paraphrased) And, that’s all I’m attempting to do here is give librarians clues to their patrons in the 21st Century, because this is the first time we’re seeing youngsters who know more about technology than adults, and expect that technology in their life. If that does NOT include the public or school or academic library, then they will go elsewhere to satisfy their information wants and needs.
Here are two more graphic illustrations about library patrons.

The three categories of 21st Century library patrons.

The correlation of three categories of 21st Century library patrons to generations (US).

As with any categorization effort, there is significant generalizing, and not every Great Generation patron will be a “Traditional” patron, and not every Gen Y patron will be a Digital Native patron. The categorizations are intended to represent the era in which the individual matured, and what technology was available during their development, or afterward (in some cases like Boomers and Gen X), and their probable technology interests based on that factor.

I’m interested in your experiences, and whether evidence bears out my assertions.

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