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Monday, September 17, 2007

Public Libraries and the Internet

The American Library Association (ALA) and Florida State University have just released a study on public libraries and internet usage. To quote from the ALA press release:

The study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and ALA, found that more than 73 percent of libraries report they are the only source of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities.

A growing number of U.S. employers are recruiting online. Nearly three-quarters (70 percent) of the top 100 U.S. retailers accept online applications for hourly positions, up from 41 percent in 2004, and 16 percent only accept online applications, according to a 2006 study from Taleo Research.

Nearly 100 percent of public libraries offer free public access to the Internet. However, despite increased patron demand for technology services, libraries have not seen a corresponding increase in their budgets. As a result, many libraries are challenged to provide enough computers or fast-enough connection speeds to meet community need. In fact, more than 58 percent of libraries reported that they have no plans to add computers in the coming year; less than half (46 percent) plan to replace computers. [Emphasis added.]

The Boston Globe ran an article on the ALA study on September 12.

Kellogg-Hubbard patron accesses the Internet:

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