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Report: Impact of Library Internet Access in Delaware

Written on: April 28th, 2010 by: in Blog PostsNews

As part of the Division of Libraries’ work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, all of Delaware’s public libraries participated last year in a survey which measured the impact of access to public computing services in public libraries. From March to June 2009 400 public libraries across the United States participated in a web survey hosted on library homepages and related websites- in Delaware, more than 400 respondents answered questions about how they used free public computing services for civic engagement, economic opportunity, access to health information, and social inclusion.

The map above shows the concentration of responses across the state, and you can read the full report for Delaware at this link or in the embedded version below the fold. In brief, however, the results of the survey make a strong case in support of the value of public access computing in our public libraries- respondents found these services to be invaluable in many different aspects of their lives from finding employment, accessing egovernment services, seeking out reliable health information, and participating in civic and social relationships.

Notable findings of the report include:

  • For almost 90% of respondents, the library was not the only place they had access to the internet. However, the convenience and high-speed service available in libraries made them an attractive place to work.

  • Almost one third of respondents used library internet access to connect with “essential eGovernment services” such as filing tax returns, applying for benefits, or finding forms or information about programs and services
  • Almost half of the respondents used library internet access to look for, or apply for a job.
  • 75% of respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with their library’s internet and technology services. About the same amount felt that these services were important to them personally- and 90% felt that they are important to their community.

Delaware IMPACT study: public access computers in libraries