Internet Use in Libraries | ALA Library Fact Sheet 26

Internet Use in Libraries

ALA Library Fact Sheet 26

The focus of this fact sheet is on how libraries assist with the ever-growing Internet access needs of their library patrons – especially those whose only Internet access is using the computers that libraries, especially public libraries, provide.

via Internet Use in Libraries | Professional Tools.

In some of Alaska’s communities, the library is the only internet access point available for most.

Here’s a quote from the fact sheet about some national level findings:

See the June 18, 2014 press release from federal agency, The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), IMLS Releases 2011 Public Libraries in the United States Report – Statistical analysis shows how investments affect library usage, in reference to the most current national statistics report on public libraries, Public Libraries in the United States Survey: Fiscal Year 2011 (2014):

For the first time, the agency used statistical modeling to examine the relationship between investments in public libraries and use of libraries and found that in most cases when investment increases, use increases, and when investment decreases, use decreases, and that these relationships persist over time.

      • Increases in investments in books and e-books, programs, public-access computers, and staffing were associated with increased levels of visitation. For example, each additional FTE (full-time equivalent) on staff corresponded with, on average, a 3371.8 increase in the number of visits.

      • Increases in collections and programs were related to increases in circulation. For example, for every 100 e-books available, an additional 345 items circulated, and for each additional program offered, there was an increase of 61.2 items circulated.

      • Increases in the number of public-access Internet computers were related to increases in computer use and program attendance. For every additional computer, there was an increase of 474 uses and an increase in program attendance of 52.4.

      • Increases in programs and staffing were related to higher levels of program attendance. Each additional staff person related to an increase of 95.2 in program attendance; every additional program corresponded to 10 additional program attendees.

The findings also indicate the ways in which library service is fundamentally changing. Reductions in physical visits to the library are associated with investments in e-materials such as e-books, which may be an indication that services are moving online, allowing people to perform library transactions such as checking availability of materials, checking them out and returning them online. And, an overall reduction in computer use could correspond with investments in wireless, which libraries have made so that customers can use their own devices. These changes signal the need for new data elements for the survey to allow a closer examination of electronic delivery of library collections and services.

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