Issues Briefs, 2008-2011

The Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study gathers a wide range of data related to computer and Internet access in U.S. public libraries – including the number of computers, barriers to high-speed Internet access, Internet services and trainings available, and funding for technology.

The Study research team develops and publishes topical briefs related to issues affecting communities’ access to technology in our public libraries. These documents are not intended to be comprehensive but rather to share key findings from the largest and longest-running study of Internet connectivity in libraries. 

After each annual survey, selected existing issues briefs are updated and posted on the current survey website. The remainder of the issues briefs are archived here to continue to be available as a resource.

Archived Issues Briefs, 2008-2011

job-seeking issues brief imageJob-Seeking in US Public Libraries page (updated June 2011)

More employers – from grocery stores to casinos to state governments – require people to apply for jobs online. Americans are depending on libraries not only for free access to computers and the Internet, but also for the assistance and training library staff offer every day.

The Job-seeking in U.S. Public Libraries page discusses the range of library resources available to job seekers and challenges to maintaining these services, along with related links to outside sources.

e-government brief U.S. Public Libraries and E-Government Services ( .pdf; updated June 2011)

U.S. public libraries are the front lines of connecting people with essential government resources – including unemployment benefits, federal and state emergency assistance, tax filing and more.

"U.S. Public Libraries and E-Government Services" describes the increased use of online government information and services, the critical role of public libraries in helping provide access and assistance using these resources and the challenges that must be addressed to improve e-government at the local, state and federal level.

a perfect storm brewingA Perfect Storm Brewing: Budget Cuts Threaten Library Services at Time of Increased Demand   (.pdf; published in January 14, 2010. Revised March 4, 2010)

 In the grip of one of the most severe recessions since the Great Depression, more Americans are turning to their libraries not only for free access to books, magazines, CDs and DVDs, but also for a lifeline to technology training and online resources for employment, continuing education and government resources.

Initial findings in this brief suggest a "perfect storm" of growing community demand for library resources converging with budget cuts closing library doors and reducing the staff available to assist library patrons.

supporting learners in public libraries logo   Supporting Learners in Public Libraries ( .pdf; updated October 2009. Published March 2009)

The public library is a key agency in supporting the educational and learning needs of every person in the community. Libraries offer vital resources for early literacy development, homework help, homeschool families, continuing education and lifelong avocations.

"Supporting Learners in U.S. Public Libraries" outlines many of the technology resources public libraries provide learners of all ages, challenges libraries face in meeting growing demand, and describes how sustained funding enables public libraries to offer increased assistance and services to their communities.

internet connectivity   Internet Connectivity in U.S. Public Libraries (. pdf; updated October 2009. Published April 2008) 

Today’s public libraries are thriving technology hubs that millions rely on for Internet access. In addition to providing free access to computers and the Internet, the majority of public libraries offer Wi-fi access, digital reference and downloadable media. As online services and programs become more sophisticated, the need for higher Internet access speeds for libraries grows.

"Internet Connectivity in U.S. Public Libraries" describes the varied opportunities and obstacles facing libraries in acquiring and providing high-speed Internet access in rural, suburban and urban libraries.

More issues briefs are available from our research partners at IPAC.

Contact the Office for Research & Statistics for questions about content on this page.