Public Access Technology Benchmarking
The Information Policy & Access Center (iPAC) is working collaboratively with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Urban Libraries Council (ULC) The International City/County Managers Association (ICMA), the Information School at the University of Washington, The American Library Association (ALA), The Public Library Association (PLA), WebJunction, TechSoup, and the State Libraries of California, Oklahoma, and Texas to develop benchmarks to identify and establish national standards detailing the capacity, capabilities and practices that need to be in place for quality public access to technology in public libraries. National benchmarks make it easier to prioritize, manage, and advocate for public access technology. The goal of the project is to build awareness of quality public access technology, to provide an advocacy tool for decision makers, to create a means for self-assessment of public access technology, and to motivate ongoing improvement and re-investment in public access technology.
The Public Access Technology Benchmarking team is making use of previously collected data to analyze it for new content. Data sets from the U.S. IMPACT Study conducted by the University of Washington, the Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study conducted by the University of Maryland, and IMLS Public Library Survey data are all part of this analysis. The project is using these data to investigate qualitative and quantitative approaches to developing benchmarks, and to identify benchmarks that would provide evidence of high patron impact. iPAC is working with the broader project team in developing the benchmarks, methods for measuring the benchmarks, and the development of tools and resources to help the library community use the benchmarks.