From the Executive Summary: Opportunity for All: How Library Policies and Practices Impact Public Internet Access is the second report from the U.S. IMPACT Study research into the users and uses of public access technology in public libraries. It highlights the ways in which public libraries can maximize this critical contribution to their communities at the same time as it addresses related policy priorities at the national level.
The U.S. IMPACT Study team visited four public libraries representing a range of community characteristics and operational environments. These sites were selected to account for the types of library environments most patrons encounter in U.S. public libraries as well as the range of issues and concerns faced by library administrators, librarians, and other staff in providing public technology.
Interviews with users, library staff, and community stakeholders, including people from community-based organizations (CBOs), government agencies, schools, and library funders, provide the foundation to discuss the wide range of internal and external factors that affect the efficiency and effectiveness of public access technology services. The following recommendations for good practice were drawn from the interviews with a wide range of local stakeholders.
- Integrate technology services with other library services.
- Activity-based budgeting can help account for the cost of public access services.
- Provide ongoing technical training for library staff.
- Formalize relationships with community-based organizations.
- Establish a set of common indicators for public library technology services.
- Use data and stories to communicate the value of public access technology.
- Leverage library technology resources to enhance broadband adoption and support.