From the ALA Announcement/Summary:
More Americans than ever turn to their libraries for access to essential technology services, with 62 percent of libraries reporting that they are the only provider of free computer and Internet access in their community. More than 60 percent of libraries report increased public use of computers and Wi-Fi over the past year.
These findings are among the highlights of the 2012 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study, produced by the American Library Association (ALA) and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“As our libraries navigate through the slow economic recovery, they must operate during an era of increased demand with decreased revenue,” said ALA President Molly Raphael. “Public libraries are the most cost-effective bridge for the ever present digital divide: they offer the digital literacy skills training and broadband access mandatory for success in the 21st-century global marketplace.”
Reflecting stubborn unemployment statistics, for the third consecutive year, libraries report services for job seekers as the most important public Internet service. More than 92 percent of libraries nationwide provide access to job databases and other job resources, while 76 percent help users complete online job applications.
Increasingly, as government agencies eliminate print forms and close satellite offices, communities turn to their public libraries for access to e-government resources, and assistance with requests such as filling out forms for Social Security and Medicare, filing court petitions and downloading W-2 forms. More than 96 percent of libraries report providing assistance with e-government services, an increase of nearly 16 percent from last year.
Direct to Full Text Report (PDF)
National Services Map: This map provides a direct link to state-specific data and handouts, all available for download in PDF.
E-Books map: 76 percent of public libraries report offering free access to e-books to library patrons; view the map to see how your state stacks up.
Job resources map: 92 percent of public libraries provide access to job databases and other job opportunity resources; view the map to see how your state stacks up.
Training resources map: 90 percent of public libraries provide formal or informal technology training to library patrons; view the map to see how your state stacks up.
E-Government map: 97 percent of public libraries provide assistance to patrons applying for and access e-government services; view the map to see how your state stacks up.