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ERIC Number: ED510740
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 212
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 67
Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries
Becker, Samantha; Crandall, Michael D.; Fisher, Karen E.; Kinney, Bo; Landry, Carol; Rocha, Anita
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Over the past decade and a half, free access to computers and the Internet in U.S. public libraries evolved from a rare commodity into a core service. Now, people from all walks of life rely on this service every day to look for jobs, find health care, and read the latest news. As the nation struggled through a historic recession, nearly one-third of the U.S. population over the age of 14 used library Internet computers and those in poverty relied on these resources even more. The library's role as a technology resource and training center has exploded since 1996, when only 28 percent of libraries offered visitors access to the Internet. Internet access is now one of the most sought after public library services, and it is used by nearly half of all visitors. This study provides the first large-scale investigation of the ways library patrons use this service, why they use it, and how it affects their lives. A national telephone survey, nearly 45,000 online surveys at public libraries, and hundreds of interviews reveal the central role modern libraries play in a digital society. Links to appendices (Theoretical Frameworks, Research Methods, Tables, Telephone Survey Instrument, and Web Survey Instrument) are included. (Contains 6 tables, 3 charts, 17 figures, and a list of further readings.)
Institute of Museum and Library Services. 1800 M Street NW 9th Floor, Washington, DC 20036-5802. Tel: 202-653-4657; Fax: 202-653-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Authoring Institution: Institute of Museum and Library Services