ERIC Number: ED272181
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Patron Use of Computers in Public Libraries.
Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
A survey was conducted to determine the extent to which public libraries have made computer hardware and software available to their patrons. In December 1984, questionnaires were distributed to a stratified national probability sample of 900 public library systems. Results, based on a response rate of 99%, indicate that: (1) 42% of the systems serving large populations (100,000 or more) had computers for patron use, compared with 26% for medium-sized populations (10,000-100,000), and 13% for small populations (fewer than 10,000); (2) an estimated 3,300 computers were available for use in the nation's libraries; three-fourths were situated inside the library while one-fourth could be checked out for loan; (3) about half of all computers were purchased primarily with state or local funds, and one-third were obtained through gifts; (4) patrons used computers inside public libraries for a total of 52,000 hours a week, or about 23 hours per computer per week; (5) 71% of the patrons using computers inside libraries were under 18 years old, but only 30% of outside users were; (6) the typical loan period allowed for computers taken outside the library was one week (67% of systems); (7) 9 out of 10 library systems that provided computers also had computer software for use inside or outside the library; and (8) about one-half of the library systems with computers offered training or orientation sessions. Libraries also indicated a high priority for initiating or increasing hardware and software availability and the number of staff trained to assist patrons. Ten data tables and a copy of the questionnaire are provided. (JB)
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Note: Appendices contain small print.