Digital Inclusion Survey

The overview page for the Digital Inclusion Survey, conducted by the University of Maryland and the American Library Association, to document the impact of libraries in building digitally inclusive communities.

Image of Digital Inclusion Survey Logo

After Access: Libraries and Digital Empowerment

The ALA convened a diverse collection of digital inclusion advocates to explore the ways in which libraries are leading the way in building digitally inclusive communities that support individual opportunity and community progress. How are library professionals and their collaborators meeting the changing landscape digital information and literacy needs of their communities? Read the report for the expert conversations, insights, and ideas for future approaches shared by the group.

Read the report.

Digital Inclusion Survey: 2014 Report Now Available

ALA Press release

Over the last twenty years of Public Libraries and Internet research, libraries have constantly evolved in tandem with advances in technology. Just as libraries offered word processing software before personal computers were commonplace in homes and offered many people their first chance to try the Internet, public libraries now enable patrons to explore e-readers, tablets and maker spaces.

Challenges - including capacity and aging infrastructure - remain. Still, as detailed in this year's Digital Inclusion Report, libraries remain on the front lines of access to information and digital literacy resources, connecting users to health insurance resources, job and business opportunities, and educational tools.

All this and much more about how libraries deliver services, in the Digital Inclusion Survey report - funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and managed by the ALA Office for Research & Statistics and the Information Policy and Access Center at the University of Maryland.

"Today libraries are less about what we have than what we can do with and for our patrons," ALA President Sari Feldman said. "As community demands shift, libraries are transforming."


Public libraries power digitally inclusive communities

Click image below to read at full size

Image showing that 98% of public libraries offer free Wi-Fi

Libraries enhance education

Click image below to read at full size

Image showing that 95% of public libraries offer summer reading programs

Library services and healthier communities

Click image below to read at full size

Health related information available in public libraries, from the ALA 2014 Digital Inclusion Study

The increase in libraries offering e-books, 2008-2014

Click image below to read at full size !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+'://';fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document, 'script', 'twitter-wjs');

Percentage of public libraries that offer e-books, from the ALA 2014 Digital Inclusion Study

Digital Inclusion Reports: by Section

Executive Summary (2 pages) - overview of survey findings, focused on the main takeaways from the study - how libraries adapt and transform to meet the public's digital needs.

Extended Summary (.pdf) (22 pages) - with detail on digital literacy and online training, high speed broadband access, and the effects of infrastructure on libraries' ability to deliver service.

2014 Digital Inclusion Survey National Report (.pdf) - full survey findings and results, with full tables and analysis.

Issues Briefs - short, detailed four-page pieces on key topics:

State-level details - State data analysis compared with national results from the 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey

About the Digital Inclusion 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.

Funded By


For additional information on the Digital Inclusion Survey, please contact the Office for Research & Statistics.