Contact: Macey Morales, Manager, ALA Media Relations, 312-280-4393 firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2008 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study sheds light on how public libraries are expanding and sustaining the computer and Internet services they make freely available to their communities. It offers the most current and comprehensive look at technology access and funding in U.S. public libraries.
Data was gathered from more than 5,400 public libraries in a national survey (78.6% response rate), 45 Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (90% response rate) and focus groups and site visits in New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
The study was conducted by the American Library Association and the Information Use Management and Policy Institute at Florida State University. It was funded by the ALA and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Key findings include:
Funding data indicate libraries are relying more on non-tax funding sources;
66 percent of public libraries offer free wireless access, up about 12 percent over last year;
Almost two-thirds of all public libraries provide 1.5Mbps or faster Internet access speeds, with a continuing disparity between urban (90 percent) and rural libraries (51.5 percent);
74 percent of libraries report their staff helps patrons understand and use e-government services, including enrolling in Medicare and applying for unemployment;
73.4 percent of libraries provide technology training to library patrons; and
While the number of Internet computers available to the public climbed for the first time in several years, one in five libraries report there are consistently fewer computers than patrons who wish to use them throughout the day.
Pamela Goodes, Associate Editor, American Libraries Magazine interviews Larra Clark, Project Manager, ALA ORS, on the release of the 2008 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study. [Listen]
Additional resources:Quick facts about computers in U.S. public libraries
Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study Advisory Committee
10 years of “Public Libraries and the Internet”
Statistics About Libraries