Policy

Public Library Survey Reveals Bandwidth Issues, Job-Search Importance

Most libraries surveyed say they have inadequate Internet speeds and not enough workstations.

Most libraries in an American Library Association survey say they have inadequate Internet speeds and not enough workstations. American Library Association hide caption

itoggle caption American Library Association

Just as some communities (namely Philadelphia) are staring down the barrel of a shutdown of their public libraries, a new report from the American Library Association reveals some interesting statistics about the state of technology and the nation's libraries. (You can find the entire 2008-2009 report here. It includes data from 6,111 library outlets which completed surveys.)

Among the most interesting findings:

  • More than 71 percent of library outlets said they're the only provider of free public computer and Internet access in their communities.
  • Job-seeking services rank as the most crucial service the library provides to its community at 66 percent of libraries, up from 44 percent in 2006-2007.
  • 59.6 percent of libraries say their connectivity speed is insufficient all or part of the time to serve its patrons.
  • 81 percent of libraries say they have insufficient availability of workstations some or all of the time.

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