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Digital Inclusion Survey Issue Briefs Now Available

Tuesday, July 22nd 2014
Digital Inclusion issue briefs
Digital Inclusion Issue Briefs Published
Topics Include Broadband, Employment, E-government, and More

Interactive Map

New interactive map includes all U.S. libraries
Our data visualization tool includes Digital Inclusion Survey data from all participating libraries
 
 
 

Digital Inclusion Survey

 
 
 

Rotating Quotes

Robert J. O'Neill, Jr.

Be it helping residents continue their educations, find jobs, improve their career skills, access e-government services, research health information, or connect with family and friends, libraries play an essential role in helping local government meet their greatest challenges by connecting their services to critical community priorities. Partnering with ALA and the University of Maryland on this project will help bring greater understanding and awareness on the role of libraries on the critical issue of digital inclusion.

Robert J. O'Neill, Jr.
Executive Director
International City/County Management Association

Andrea Berstler

Libraries thrive on relevant, current information. The ability to analyze current data as a means of forecasting the future needs of a community or an organization is a major tool utilized by libraries across the county in the work of staying relevant and timely. For small and rural libraries, this struggle is all the more difficult. Lack of resources, time and access to quality data creates an information vacuum where directors and boards make decisions based on incomplete or outdated facts. By being able to access the information from a project built with the resources of ALA and the University of Maryland, small and rural libraries across the country will have proven information for making crucial decisions about the future needs of their communities and how libraries can work to successfully bridge the digital divide.

Andrea Berstler
Past President
Association for Rural & Small Libraries

Ann Joslin

Our libraries are at the heart of building digitally inclusive communities, and this new survey will help us demonstrate this to our key stakeholders,” said COSLA President Ann Joslin. “I’m excited that new interactive tools will make it easier to connect library and community data like library workforce services and local unemployment rates, library digital literacy initiatives and local graduation rates, and other community demographics. The new survey places libraries in a community context that will make it easier to identify gaps in our services and demonstrate the impacts of our technology resources.

Ann Joslin
President
COSLA
 
 
 
 
 
 

Digital Inclusion Builds Communities Today (and Tomorrow)

The ubiquity of the Internet poses challenges and opportunities for communities and individuals alike. These challenges and opportunities, however, are not evenly distributed. Equitable access to and participation in the online environment is essential for success contemporary life. And yet, communities and individuals find themselves at differing levels of readiness in their ability to access and use the Internet, robust and scalable broadband, a range of digital technologies, and digital content.

Research from the Public Library Funding & TechnologyOpportunity for All, and Pew Internet studies show that libraries are vita hubs that provide access to public access technologies and digital content. When taken together, these studies also show that community and individual success requires a comprehensive approach to creating digital inclusion that ensures opportunity for all communities and individuals regardless of geographic location, socio-economic status, or any other factor.

Digital inclusion has three broad facets: access, adoption, and application. These facets show the ultimate goal of creating digitally inclusive communities:

  • Access: Availability, affordability, design for inclusion, and public access.
  • Adoption: Relevance, digital literacy, and consumer safety.
  • Application: Economic and workforce development, education, health care, public safety and emergency services, civic engagement, and social connections.

In order to achieve these goals, libraries promote digital inclusion in four significant ways:

  • By providing free access to public access technologies (hardware, software, high-speed Internet connectivity) in their communities.
  • By providing access to a range of digital content to their communities.
  • By providing digital literacy services that assist individuals navigate, understand, evaluate, and create digital content using a range of information and communications technologies.
  • By providing programs and services around key community need areas such as health and wellness, education, employment and workforce development, and civic engagement.

Participation in the survey is critical to demonstrating the significant impacts that public libraries have in building digitally inclusive communities, and will enable libraries to:

  • Identify the impacts of public computer and Internet access on the community.
  • Show library public access technology services in terms of key community demographics.
  • Identify gaps in public access technology services based on community needs.
  • Demonstrate library contributions to community digital inclusion efforts.
  • Support efforts to inform and educate stakeholders – policymakers, foundations, elected officials, trustees, and the media – about the value of libraries in building digitally inclusive communities

For more information, see our page What is Digital Inclusion?

 
 
 
 
 
 

Project Partners