The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) just published the research brief: “Who’s in the Queue? A Demographic Analysis of Public Access Computer Users and Uses in U.S. Public Libraries” by Carlos A. Manjarrez and Kyle Schoembs.
Highlights from the report include:
• The demographic analysis in this brief dispels some myths about the beneficiaries of public access computer services in U.S. public libraries. Public access computer users largely resemble the general public in terms of age, education, and even in the overall level of home computer and Internet access.
• The fact that many different people report that they are able to fulfill a wide variety of information needs is a clear indication that public libraries are providing much more than basic technology access
• Substantive uses of public access computers mirror the needs people have at different stages of the life course. Young people identify education activities as their main use, people between the ages of 25 and 54 identifying employment activities as their top use, and people 55 and older reporting health and wellness research as the main public access computer use.
Research brief link: http://www.imls.gov/pdf/Brief2011_04.pdf