Daily Archives: November 3, 2010

“Digital Fugitive” Library Customers

How’s that for a label for those “traditional” library patrons I referred to in my February 4 Post 21st Century Patrons – Greatest & Silent and again in the diagrams in my May 12 Post 21st Century Patrons – Revisited.

Initially it seemed that referring to those senior individuals who have not found any particular interest, attraction or value in digital technology and mobile connectedness as “traditional” library customers was recognizing their right NOT to become “digital immigrants”. This group also includes those individuals who love their “brick & mortar” library with its ambiance and stacks and tactile attractions, and avoided technology as unnecessary and often intrusive. On further reflection (and in an attempt to include the term “digital” in each description), it occurred to me that those “traditional” library customers are choosing to avoid technology and the digital age, so therefore they are “Digital Fugitives”.

A commonly accepted dictionary definition of “fugitive” as a noun states; “One who flees, or has fled; a refugee, or something fleeting or ephemeral. (The etymology is Middle English fugitive, from Old French, from Latin fugitīvus, from fugitus, past participle of fugere, to flee.) Sounds like those 20th Century traditional library patrons to me.

So, I’m revising my diagram of library customers to include a description of the “Digital Fugitive” – “Not a digital immigrant, avoids technology in favor of a brick & mortar traditional library, the original 20th Century patron.” This includes a majority of the 35 million plus Great Generation and Silent Generation (66 and over), and some Baby Boomers. They represent a significant segment of the 21st Century library customer, yet there are many individuals in these generations who are “Digital Immigrants”.

Due more to the growth of the “Digital Native” segment of the population, 21st Century libraries are required to provide a broader spectrum of services than the 20th Century library – more digital, mobile, connected. The large segment of “Digital Fugitive” customers must be offered services oriented to their needs, including technology classes for those interested in migrating to become “Digital Immigrants”.

So, what do you think of the new category – “Digital Fugitive”?

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