One of the very first library conferences I attended, a very distinguished speaker (not a librarian), stated that he detected a sense of doom and gloom among librarians (or something to that effect, sorry it was 2 years ago). Every librarian knows why, among various reasons, the internet and search engines are threatening to displace the role of libraries and librarians in the minds of the public, the rise of ebook readers threaten to cause the biggest disruption in the way libraries work since the invention of the printing press etc. One of the major mistakes libraries made this decade is supposedly being slow to recognize the power of simplicity in internet search engines, and by the time libraries came up with their own shiny next-generation OPACs on the web, no-one was using the library websites, since Google was all they needed anyway.
We can see a steady downward fall in percentages of google searches for "libraries". If I'm reading this correctly since 2004, percentages of google searches for libraries as of year end 2009 has fallen to 30% of 2004 levels! It's projected to fall to 20% by year end 2010.
Perhaps one reason is that people aren't searching for books online?
As the graph above shows, not really.
Our good friend/competitor Amazon, seems to be steadily gaining. The peaks are due to Christmas in case you are wondering. "Online book" appears to have fallen a bit (Trough of disillusion?) since 2004 but seem to have recovered to 2004 levels, thanks to the likes of Google books and the emergence of various ebook readers.
Of course, this is an overall analysis, on a per institution basis, things might be a lot better. For instance, my own library seems to have experienced a slow upward trend in particular a jump in Aug 2009 (start of term) , same for Singapore's national libraries. But you can probably figure out such data more reliably, simply by looking at your weblogs!