Released at PLA this week, the study Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries shows what most librarians already knew—patrons are using the library for more than checking out paper books.  The study is already generating buzz outside of the library profession and is being picked-up by news outlets around the country. (I saw it this morning on the local news.)

From IMLS:
Nearly one-third of Americans age 14 or older – roughly 77 million people – used a public library computer or wireless network to access the Internet in the past year, according to a national report released today. In 2009, as the nation struggled through a recession, people relied on library technology to find work, apply for college, secure government benefits, learn about critical medical treatments, and connect with their communities.

The report, Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries, is based on the first, large-scale study of who uses public computers and Internet access in public libraries, the ways library patrons use this free technology service, why they use it, and how it affects their lives. It was conducted by the University of Washington Information School and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Full report : http://tascha.washington.edu/usimpact.

For broadcast-quality footage, high-resolution still photography, and information about the foundation’s work, please visit: www.gatesfoundation.org/press-room/Pages/news-market.aspx.

 ~Nicolle
steffen_n@cde.state.co.us