Public Libraries as Providers of Digitally Inclusive Services and Resources

October 18, 2012 at 12:23 am Leave a comment

The American Library Association (ALA) today announced it has received a three-year, National Leadership Grant award of $486,587.00 from the Institute for Museum & Library Services (IMLS).

ALA Office for Research & Statistics (ORS) Director Kathy Rosa will serve as project director, and John Bertot, co-director of the University of Maryland Information Policy & Access Center (iPAC), will manage the survey for the study of Public Libraries as Providers of Digitally Inclusive Services and Resources: A National Survey Redefined. TheInternational City/County Management Association (ICMA), another partner on the grant, will provide input regarding issues of digital inclusion at the local government and community levels.

“Recent technological, economic and policy changes have thrust the digital literacy and digital inclusion roles of public libraries to the forefront of service,” said ALA ORS Director Kathy Rosa. “We are pleased to continue working with the University of Maryland Information Policy & Access Center to gather the information we need to advocate for and adapt to the digital inclusion needs of our communities.”

The study builds on the success of the long-running Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study (PLFTAS), which measured public access to computers, the Internet and Internet-related services in U.S. public libraries, as well as the impact of library funding changes on connectivity, technology deployment and sustainability. The new study will use qualitative and quantitative methods to focus on digital literacy and digital inclusion.

“Previous surveys conducted by ALA and UMCP have chronicled the growth of public access technology services and infrastructure in public libraries,” stated John Bertot. “By focusing on the role of public access technologies and services public libraries provide, this study will demonstrate the important roles of public libraries in building digitally inclusive communities.”

The Public Libraries as Providers of Digitally Inclusive Services and Resources: A National Survey study will take the pulse of public library service in the areas of digital literacy, economic and workforce development, educational support, and health information. Through this research and with the participation of U.S. public libraries, we will have the data we need to advocate for and adapt to the digital inclusion needs of our communities.

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Entry filed under: accessibility, American Library Association, digital inclusion, technology access.

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