Wednesday, July 28, 2010

ALA: Library computers essential for those trying to get new jobs

In this national economic downturn, more people than ever are utilizing their local public libraries to find employment information and apply for jobs electronically. Poverty and the digital divide are real, yet states are cutting back funding in these crucial areas. Public libraries are at the forefront by providing greater access to information and educating patrons on how to become more informed citizens.

A sampling of findings from the American Library Association study of Public Library Funding and Technology Access reveals the following:

# 99 percent of public libraries offer free access to computers.
# Public computer and Wi-Fi use was up last year for more than 70 percent of all libraries.
# 89 percent of libraries provide technology training, including classes in computer skills, software use and online job-seeking.
# Most libraries offer Internet services ranging from subscription databases (95 percent) to online homework resources (88 percent).
# 66 percent of libraries provide assistance to patrons completing government forms.
# 76 percent of libraries report public use of Internet computers increased in 2009.
# 88 percent of libraries provide access to job databases and other job opportunity resources.
# 15 percent of all libraries report decreased hours of operation and 56 percent report flat or decreased operating budgets in fiscal 2010.

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