The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) recently issued a report on library computer users: Who Is In the Queue: Public Access Computer Users. It provides an analysis of public access computer users and demonstrates that public libraries provide much more than basic technology access.
A few key findings:
• One third of the American public used a library computer last year. Libraries are at the crossroads of public computer use serving young and old, rich and poor, people with little formal education to those with graduate degrees.
• 86% of public access computer users reported they also had regular access to a computer and the internet at home. Those who lacked home access reporting using the library computer at least weekly and often daily.
• Young people between 14-19 were most likely to use the public computer s for educational purposes; users 25-54 for employment and training; older adults for health information.
• Libraries have responded to this demand by increasing their investment in hardware, the necessary infrastructure, and databases.
As our regular computer users know, we replaced ours earlier this year, updated the software, and added some new capabilities. KPL resident cardholders may use the computers up to two hours per day. There are often tech interns on duty at Central to help; staff at other locations and information desks can help too.