Digital Inclusion Survey
Digital Inclusion Report Published
How are libraries are equipping U.S. communities with the resources and skills needed to succeed in today’s – and tomorrow’s – global marketplace? Read the results of the Digital Inclusion Survey, taken from a nationally representative sample of public libraries at the branch/outlet level between September 3 and November 30, 2013.
“Until the Digital Inclusion Survey, no national study has shown in such detail the extent to which libraries complete education, jumpstart employment and entrepreneurship, and foster individual empowerment and engagement, or the E’s of Libraries™,” said ALA President Courtney Young.
Based on a national survey conducted in Fall 2013, the analysis provides insights into how public libraries help build digitally inclusive communities. Tools located at http://digitalinclusion.umd.edu/ include:
- Interactive mapping tools that combine digital inclusion survey and community-level data, to enable libraries to better understand their community demographics, education and learning, economic/workforce and health contexts along with the digital inclusion services that they provide.
- State pages that provide an interactive state-level mapping tool and selected summary data that compares states to national data.
- Issue briefs on key topics such as broadband, employment, e-government, community access, digital literacy and digital inclusion.
- National report that analyzes data from the survey.
- Executive summary that provides an overview of survey findings.
About the Study
Documenting the impact of libraries in the Digital Age is more important than ever as government officials make difficult decisions with increasingly tightened public funds. Studies show that libraries are vital digital hubs that provide access to public access technologies and digital content, and that millions of people use those technologies for education, employment, civic engagement and health purposes and to enhance their digital literacy skills. In doing so, public libraries are essential to the building of digitally inclusive communities.
The Digital Inclusion Survey is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and conducted by the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Research & Statistics and the Information Policy & Access Center at the University of Maryland. The International City/County Management Association and the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy serve as partners on the grant. This study conducts a national survey of public libraries that explores the digital inclusion roles of public libraries in four key areas:
- Public access technology infrastructure resources and capacity (e.g., public access workstations; broadband connectivity).
- Digital content, services, and accessibility.
- Digital literacy (including languages in which instruction is offered).
- Domain-specific services and programs (civic engagement, education, health and wellness, and workforce/employment).
The survey provides national and state estimates, but more importantly, interactively shows public libraries in context with community-level data (e.g. levels of poverty, unemployment rates, graduation rates). Survey participants will be able to identify community impacts of library public computer and Internet access; identify gaps in technology services based on community needs and demographics; and demonstrate library contributions to community digital inclusion efforts.
More information regarding the study and survey, including examples of data use, interactive data tools, issue briefs regarding public libraries and aspects of digital inclusion, is available at http://digitalinclusion.umd.edu.