“Today’s public libraries are vital community technology hubs that millions of Americans rely on for their first and often only choice for Internet access.” So says a three-year study of Internet connectivity in public libraries called, “Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2006-2007”. The study assesses public access to computers, the Internet and Internet-related services in U.S. public libraries, as well as the impact of library funding changes on connectivity, technology deployment and sustainability.
Some key findings of the study are:
• 99% of public libraries offer free access to computers and the Internet.
• 73% of U.S. public libraries report that they are the only source of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities.
• More than 14 million Americans use free computer and Internet services at their local public library to get an education, find a job, get government information, access e-mail and other increasingly essential tasks.
These findings don’t come as any surprise to us here at the Santa Fe Public Library. Last year, we counted almost 124,000 users at the public computers at our three branches, and we expect the number to rise in years to come. To sign up (same day only) Contact the Main (955-6781), La Farge (955-4862), or Southside Library (955-2820).
The Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study collected data through surveys from more than 4,000 public libraries, more than 40 Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, and focus groups and site visits in Delaware, Maryland, Nevada and Utah. To view the final report, please visit www.ala.org/plinternetfunding.
Submitted by TG at Main Library.