iPAC Data Highlighted in International City/County Management Association Article
The International City/County Management Association (ICMA) used data from the Information Policy and Access Center's (iPAC) 2011-2012 Public Libraries Technology and Access Study (PLFTAS) to demonstate how public libraries can benefit various locales. In the latest issue of Public Management (PM) Magazine, an article entitled "Check Out the New Library" suggests that when public officials are considering resources that can assist with local problems, "[o]ne resource that might be undervalued and overlooked by managers is the public library."
The ICMA article echos many of the key points of the PLFTAS surveys as well as their successor, the 2013 - 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey. The 2011 - 2013 PLFTAS survey found that 97 percent of libraries help patrons with e-Government services, 92 percent provide access to job databases, 90 percent provide technology training, 76 percent help patrons to find jobs online, and 62 percent of public libraries are the only free provider of public internet access inclusive of a computer terminal in their communities. In other words, libraries are highly useful in helping public managers in connecting citizens to government services and decreasing local unemployment. As the authors of the article note, "Our preconceived notions of what libraries 'are' have created barriers to engaging them in strategic problem solving and community building. Now is the time to step back into your library to recognize and strategically plan how libraries can help with community issues."
The news story from ICMA can be found at this link, while the original source of the data can be found in the 2011-2012 PLFTAS Survey Findings and Results. For information about current, ongoing iPAC public library studies, please visit the Digital Inclusion Survey website.