In recent years, librarians and communities have been successfully transforming the image and roles of their local libraries. No longer just an outlet for books, over two-thirds of Americans see libraries as important for the ways in which they improve community life, serve as advocates for literacy and reading, and provide avenues for individual success.
According to ALA’s 2015 State of America’s Libraries Report, one significant way that public libraries are achieving these goals is through technology and digital resource access. In striving for a digitally inclusive society, public libraries have made great strides in ensuring that digital content and literacy instruction is within the reach of everyone. For example, almost all U.S. public libraries offer all of the following services: free wireless internet access (97%), technology training (98%), education and learning programs (99%), and summer reading programs (98%). In addition to this, four-fifths (80%) offer programs that improve job application and interviewing skills, and three-fourths also provide community, civic engagement, or e-government programs.
Public libraries are deploying their services to prepare for the digital present and future, and to ensure the success of the people in their communities in all aspects of their life. While digital literacy initiatives are increasingly important, however, just a little more than a third (38%) of state libraries indicated specific goals related to these initiatives. Moving forward, it is important that all public libraries clearly give voice to how their services contribute to and enhance the goals of digital inclusion and information literacy.
Read the full report here to find out more about current issues and trends in public, school, and academic libraries.
Note: This post is part of our series, “The Weekly Number.” In this series, we highlight statistics that help tell the story of the 21st-century library.