2014 Survey Results and Reports




2014 Digital Inclusion Survey Reports Released

Public libraries provide access to broadband, WiFi, and a range of public access technologies. By providing free and equitable access to Internet-enabled technology, public libraries help ensure that a lack of basic or more advanced technology skills is not a barrier to individual economic, learning, or other success. By offering training in how to use computers, the Internet, emerging technologies such as 3D printers, and various forms of software, librarians help individuals build technology competencies and capacities that transcend barriers to digital readiness. In providing these services, libraries act as a bridge that connects individuals and communities to opportunities for success. Individuals are able to find jobs that employers must fill, governments are able to achieve their mission of assisting the public, and health care specialists are able to reach the people who need their expertise the most. The Digital Inclusion Survey has attempted to document these interactions, demonstrating the ways in which public libraries serve and benefit the public and their communities.

Below are selected findings from the 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey. Findings are expanded upon in the:

  • 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey National Report, which presents detailed findings from the 2014 survey at the national level;
  • 2014 Digital Inclusion Extended Summary, which offers an analysis of key findings from the 2014 survey; and
  • 2014 Digital Inclusion State Supplement, which presents detailed and summary findings at the state level from the 2014 survey. [Note: Analysis was not possible for Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin due to insufficient response rates from libraries on those states.]

Also available are an interactive mapping tool that combines community level data with 2013 and 2014 (if available) Digital Inclusion Survey data, specific state pages that offer a state-level view of the interactive map along with selected state data analysis, and issue briefs that offer perspectives on key community issue areas such as broadband, access, employment, digital inclusion, digital literacy, and e-government.


Study Highlights

  • Public libraries report an overall media download speed of 16Mbps. City libraries report a median subscribed download speed of 40Mbps, as compared to a median  subscribed download speed of 10Mbps for rural public libraries.
  • Nearly all (94%) public libraries outlets offer some form of technology training to patrons. City libraries are more likely to offer formal technology training than other libraries. For example, 61% of city libraries offer formal computer skills training as opposed to 50% of suburban libraries, 44% of town libraries, and 32% of rural libraries.
  • Nearly all public libraries (95%) reported offering summer reading, with 40% indicating that they offer basic literacy programs and 34% reporting that they offer STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) programs.
  • Nearly 75% of public libraries offer programs that assist individuals apply for jobs (e.g., interviewing skills, resume development, completing online job applications).
  • Public libraries are supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs, with 36% of public libraries provide work spaces for mobile workers and 48% offering programs on how to access and use online business information resources designed to support small business development (e.g., SBA.gov, Business Source Complete).
  • A majority of public libraries (68%) help individuals to access and to use employment databases, as well as to access and use online business information resources (58%).
  • Three-fourths of public libraries (76%) offer individuals assistance in accessing, using, and completing e-government programs, services, and forms.
  • An overall majority (59%) of public libraries offer programs designed to help individuals identify health insurance resources, and 48% of public libraries offer programs designed to help individuals understand health or wellness topics (e.g., healthy lifestyles, managing health conditions).
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2014 Digital Inclusion Survey Results Published