Shelf AwarenessThe Digital Inclusion Survey, conducted by the American Library Association to examine national digital trends, has found that 90% of libraries lend e-books, up from 76% in 2012, and nearly 100% percent offer digital readiness programs. The survey collected data from a nationally representative sample of public libraries at the branch/outlet level between September 3 and November 30, 2013.
Among the Digital Inclusion Survey's findings:
- 98% of libraries provide free public access to wi-fi, up from 89% in 2012.
- 98% provide technology training, ranging from internet safety and privacy to coding to using social media.
- 98% provide assistance completing online government forms.
- 97% provide online homework help.
- 95% offer workforce development training programs.
- 56% offer health and wellness programs regarding developing healthy lifestyles.
- 50% offer entrepreneurship and small business development programs.
- Average number of computers provided by libraries is now 20, up from 16 in 2012.
The survey also found that while most libraries have shown progress since the last national library technology study in 2012, advances are uneven. Fewer than half of rural libraries reported they increased bandwidth speeds in the last 24 months, compared with 64% of urban libraries and 56% of suburban libraries. Fewer than two-thirds of rural libraries reported having access to information technology (IT) staff, and 66% said they would like to increase their broadband capacity, but cost is the leading barrier to doing so.