Public Library Funding and Technology Access Survey data illustrates necessity of Public Libraries

Wednesday, January 2, 2013
The New York Times recently featured Public Library Funding and Technology Access Survey (PLFTAS) data in an article about the digital divide and the necessity of computer access in the 21st century. Collected  by the Information Policy & Access Center (iPAC) at the University of Maryland in partnership with the American Library Association, PLFTAS data shows patrons’ increasing demand for Internet services and the difficulties faced by public libraries as they struggle to  keep up with the needs of their users. 
This piece touches upon several key findings from the 2012 PLFTAS, including:
  • In 64.5 percent of communities in the U.S., public libraries are the only providers of free public access to computers and the Internet;
  • 41.7 percent of libraries report that they lack sufficient connection speeds to meet the day-to-day needs of their users; and
  • 65.4 percent of public libraries report having an insufficient number of workstations to meet their users’ needs all or part of the time.
Additional PLFTAS data shows the range of services public libraries offer in an effort to close the digital divide, including digital literacy training, assistance with employment-related needs, and e-government services.
The Information Policy & Access Center’s website offers numerous primers on these issues facing public libraries and their patrons including Broadband, Digital Literacy, Employment, Community Access and E-Government services. In addition, iPAC offers state-level connectivity and services data at