Each year, the American Library Association and the Center for Library & Information Innovation, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, surveys a national sample of public libraries regarding their Internet connectivity and computing access resources. The 2010-2011 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study survey (PLFTAS) is now open and survey announcement postcards should be arriving at libraries this week.
The survey portal is www.plinternetsurvey.org – respondents can find FAQs and other support, and then head to “start survey.” That is also where you will find the 4 issue briefs (Broadband, Community Access, E-government, and Employment), as well as state summaries for Employment and E-government.
Why participate in this survey?
- At the national level, the data have been used by NTIA, the FCC, Congress, ALA, and B&MGF to help make the case that libraries are critical community anchor institutions that should be included in any broadband plan initiatives; help libraries secure BTOP funds; and work with policy makers to secure LSTA funds for libraries. The data is also being combined with a range of geocoded data so that policymakers can see how libraries make a difference in their communities through their public access technologies.
- At the state level, 72% of state librarians said they currently are using or are likely to use the data for state-level testimony and to develop messaging related to public library technology resources. The data is used to develop state-level issue briefs, data summaries (employment and e-government), and other tools to help state libraries advocate on behalf of their libraries.
- At the local level, survey administrators have worked with a number of libraries to get stories out about the importance of libraries in their communities. They have also been working with the National Association of Counties to take the message to local governing bodies and decision makers. You can see several media stories using PLFTAS data at: http://www.ala.org/ala/research/initiatives/plftas/2009_2010/media.cfm.
The survey closes November 5, 2010.