How many computers does a public library need to provide equitable public access to the Internet?
There are a lot of ways to go about answering this question. One strategy is to consider the typical number of such computers found in libraries of different sizes and in different parts of the nation. To account for the enormous variation in the size of public library jurisdictions, it is also helpful to adjust for that factor by looking at the ratio of computers to a certain level of population—let’s say, 5,000 people.
- The average number of public access Internet computers per 5,000 served rises as size of jurisdiction drops: for 25,000 and higher, one; for 5,000 to 25,000, two; and for less than 5,000, three.
- States reporting the most public access Internet computers per 5,000 served are: Wisconsin (4.6), Minnesota and Colorado (both 4.0).
- States reporting the fewest such computers per 5,000 served are: Arkansas and Hawaii (both 0.8), South Carolina (0.7), Connecticut (0.4).
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