E-Books and Wi-Fi Up, Open Hours Down at Public Libraries

Coverage Type: reporting
American Library Association, 50 E. Huron, Chicago, IL, 60611, United States

Public libraries in the U.S. are facing more demand for e-books and Wi-Fi just as many municipalities are cutting budget and reducing hours of operation, according to an annual study released Tuesday, June 21.

Findings in the 2011 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study continue to reflect how libraries have become community hubs for publicly available computers and Internet connectivity. More Americans are relying on technology in libraries to hunt for jobs, to fill out government forms, and to simply browse the Web. In fact, 64 percent of library locations said they are the only provider of free public computer and Internet access in their communities.

Technology is becoming integral to the American public library. Compared to last year’s survey:

  • Almost 70 percent of libraries reported an increased use of public access workstations.
  • Seventy-five percent re¬ported an increased use of Wi-Fi.
  • Almost half re¬ported an increased use of electron¬ic resources.


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