Contact: Larra Clark
Project Manager, ORS
For Immediate Release,
April 29, 2008
New issues brief examines public library Internet connectivity
ALA Office for Research & Statistics launches new series of reports
“Internet Connectivity in U.S. Public Libraries” describes the range of Internet services public libraries broker on behalf of their users – including homework help, audio, video and digital reference; connectivity rates; wireless availability; and the diverse challenges faced by urban, suburban and rural libraries in being able to improve Internet connectivity to their communities through the library. The document also links to related research on bandwidth in the
“The percent of libraries reporting they have sufficient bandwidth speeds to meet patron needs at all times has declined about 12 percent over the last three years, even as these speeds have climbed incrementally,” said ALA ORS director Denise Davis. “There are many reasons for this, but the bottom line is that more work must be done at all levels to improve bandwidth and ensure library users have access to the education, employment and information resources they need to fully participate in the Digital Age.”
Library staffs are encouraged to use these briefing papers as educational tools with community stakeholders, including elected officials, funders and program partners, as needed to raise awareness of the specific – and sometimes unique – concerns of libraries around technology deployment. Staff may also use this format as a template for providing local data and examples related to a given topic.
The briefing reports are not intended to be comprehensive, but rather to share key findings from the largest and longest-running study of Internet connectivity in libraries. The Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and
For more information on the study and to download a copy of the Internet Connectivity report, please visit www.ala.org/plinternetfunding. The research team also invites feedback about future topics and additional tools that would be useful in raising awareness around library technology needs. Please write Larra Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.