The executive summary (pdf) is only 12 pages long and worth a complete read. Some key points I pulled out:
- Over the past year, 45 percent of the 169 million visitors to public libraries connected to the Internet using a library computer or wireless network during their visit
- As the nation struggled through a historic recession, nearly one-third of the U.S. population over the age of 14 used library Internet computers and those in poverty relied on these resources even more
- The library’s role as a technology resource has exploded since 1996, when only 28 percent of libraries offered Internet access.
- up to a third of all libraries say they lack even minimally adequate Internet connections to meet demand. More report that they cannot provide the access their patrons truly need
- 44 percent of people in households living below the federal poverty line ($22,000 a year for a family of four) used public library computers and Internet access.
- Among young adults (14–24 years of age) in households below the federal poverty line, 61 percent used public library computers and Internet for educational purposes.
- Among seniors (65 and older) living in poverty, 54 percent used public library computers for health or wellness needs.
My personally favorite fact
nearly two-thirds of library computer users (63 percent) logged on to help others.
Recommendations from the report:
- State and local government should include libraries in comprehensive broadband deployment and adoption strategies.
- Business and government agencies should engage libraries in economic and workforce development strategies.
- State and local education reform initiatives should partner with and invest in public libraries to broaden educational opportunities for K-12 students and adults.
- Public and private health officials and organizations should support the public library as a partner in disseminating health and wellness information and as a resource for future health communications research.
- Federal, state, and local government agencies should support libraries as points of access for eGovernment services. Government agencies are moving a
- Support technology services that build communities.