Skip to content


Public Libraries and the Internet 2006

New: Public Libraries and the Internet 2006: Study Results and Findings (U.S.)
Gary Price at ResourceShelf has a great post about this new study.
“Public Libraries and the Internet 2006: Study Results and Findings
Get ready for some serious reading, the report is a 255 page, PDF file.
This report from the Information Use Management & Policy Institute, Florida State University was written by John Carlo Bertot, Ph. D., Charles R. McClure, Ph. D., Director and Francis Eppes Professor, Paul T. Jaeger, Ph.D. and J. D. Assistant Professor, and Joe Ryan, Senior Research Associate.
Key Findings
Libraries as Community Public Access Computing and Internet Access Points
Public libraries continue to provide important public access computing and Internet access in their communities:
• 98.9% of public library branches are connected to the Internet.
• 98.4% of connected public library branches offer public Internet access.
• 36.7% of public library branches offer wireless Internet access, up from 17.9% in 2004.
• 100% of high poverty branches—those with greater than 40% poverty in the service area—are connected to the Internet and offer public Internet access.
• Public library branches have an average of 10.7 public access computers, with rural libraries having an average of 7.1 workstations and urban libraries having an average of 17.9 workstations.
From the Future Developments Section of the Executive Summary
In the future, public libraries plan to add and/or replace workstations and make other enhancements to their public access computing and Internet access services:
• 16.6% of public library branches plan to add more workstations within two years, while
28.6% of branches are considering doing so.
• 72.8% of public library branches plan to replace some workstations within two years. Of the 72.8% of libraries, 35.3% have plans to replace a definite number of workstations, with an average replacement of 7.2 workstations.
• 23.1% plan to add wireless access within two years.
From the Challenges Section of the Exec Summary
Challenges remain as public libraries continue to improve their public access computing and Internet access services:
• Roughly 45.0% of public libraries reported a decrease (6.8%) or flat funding (36.6%) in
their overall budget as compared to the previous fiscal year. Given inflation and increased personnel and benefits costs, flat funding equates to a cut in funding. Thus, nearly half of public libraries essentially experienced reductions in funding.
• Public libraries face increased demands to supply public access computing in times of natural disasters such as the 2005 hurricanes and to support federal, state, and local egovernment services, e.g., applications for the federal prescription drug plan.
• 45.5% of public library branches indicate that their connection speeds are inadequate to meet user demands some or all of the time.
• One-quarter of public library branches have 3 or fewer workstations, two-quarters of public library branches have 6 or fewer workstations, and three-quarters of public library branches have 12 or fewer workstations.
• Only 20.7% of public library branches indicate that the number of workstations they currently have is adequate to meet patron demand.
• 45.4% of public library branches have no plans to add workstations in the next two years.
• Space (79.9%), cost factors (72.6%), and maintenance (38.8%) most commonly influence decisions to add or upgrade public access Internet workstations.
• Rural public libraries tend to have fewer public access workstations, lower bandwidth, and are less likely to offer wireless access.
Source: Information Use Management & Policy Institute, Florida State University
For: The The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The American Library Association”
OK – I’ve done something I try to avoid doing – reproducing an entire post from another blog. First, subscribe to ResourceShelf, it’s the best blog I know for keeping up. Second, kneel before Gary Price, the librarian’s librarian. Rats, I still feel guilty. Read the report.
Stephen

Posted on: October 3, 2006, 2:23 pm Category: Uncategorized

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.