This research, authored by the University of Washington and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, found that nearly one in three Americans age 14 or older—roughly 77 million people—used a public library computer or wireless network to access the internet in the last year. Major uses of online access at libraries include employment and career support (slightly under half of users); education and training such as applying for college, doing homework, or taking an online course (slightly under half of users); and researching health and wellness issues (slightly over a third of users). This important study highlights what is at risk, particularly for low-income individuals who rely heavily on the public library for their technology, if future public and private investment in public libraries doesn’t keep pace with demand.
Nishi, J. (2011). Opportunity for all: How the American public benefits from internet access at U.S. libraries. National Civic Review, 100(3), 36-40. https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ncr.20071