New IMLS Releases Research Brief: Access to Public Library Services and Materials During the First Nine Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced today the release of a research brief on the public library response to community needs during the first 9 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The brief, “Access to Public Library Services and Materials During the First Nine Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” highlights how public libraries ensured patrons had access to library services as the pandemic forced closures in communities around the nation beginning in March 2020. This is emblematic of the significant role libraries have in their communities.
Findings from the FY 2020 PLS research include:
- While library buildings were closed to the public, 62% of libraries intentionally provided Wi-Fi internet access to users outside the buildings.
- The percentage of libraries allowing patrons to register for library cards online more than doubled to 64% during the pandemic.
- Usage of e-books and downloadable audio/video materials increased 25% from FY 2019 to FY 2020.
IMLS’s Library Search and Compare Tool includes library-level detail on COVID-related services such as whether a particular library increased continued services while closed, issued e-library cards, provided live virtual programming, or boosted wi-fi access outside of library buildings. PLS Benchmarking Tables also provide national and state-level statistics on key revenue and expenditures, workforce, collections and circulation, and services provided, including per person estimates to enable better state comparisons.
Direct to Full Text Brief
6 pages; PDF.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.