Libraries Often Only Source of Free Internet

slfisher 0 Tallied Votes 554 Views Share

Far from being made superfluous by the Internet, a recent study by the American Library Association finds that the library is often the only source of free Internet access in a community.

More than 71 percent of all libraries (and 79 percent of rural libraries) report they are the only source of free access to computers and the Internet in their communities, according to the survey. 76 percent of public libraries offer free wireless access. However, nearly 60 percent of libraries report Internet connection speeds are insufficient to meet patron demand at some point in the day, and 81 percent of public libraries report there are not enough public Internet computers to meet patron demand some or all of the time.

Libraries are particularly being used in the economic downtown, with 66 percent of public libraries ranking job-seeking services, including resume writing and Internet job searches, among the most crucial online services they offer – up from 44 percent two years ago. In a separate survey, 80 percent of New York libraries indicated they helped someone search for a job in late 2008, the ALA said. More than 90 percent of public libraries provide technology training such as online job-seeking and career-related classes, general Internet, and computer use instruction.

With more governments turning to the Internet themselves to reduce costs, many government services are now often available only, or most easily, via the Internet, leaving people without Internet access stuck.

Ironically, at the same time libraries are being called on more heavily, they are having hours and staffing cut due to budget restrictions, with 44 percent of states reporting declines in state funding for public libraries in FY2009 – in some cases by as much as 25 or 30 percent. In addition, 14 percent of libraries reported FY2009 declines in local funding as well.

MktgRob 7 Nearly a Posting Virtuoso

While not totally free, some chain restaurants like Panera Bread offer free access to the internet. While conducting a recent job search on a Sunday when my Library was closed and my home broadband access was down due to a local power problem, I was able to sit an a Panera Bread and access the web for the cost of a cup of coffee (with unlimited free refills!)

slfisher 0 Posting Whiz

True, though I've been reading that some coffeeshops are now restricting the amount of time one can stay there, taking away electrical outlets, etc.

MktgRob 7 Nearly a Posting Virtuoso

I had heard the same and while Panera doesn't do this overtly when you sign on to their connection you get a quick message asking you to be considerate of other users during peak times (lunch hour, 6-9PM). Fortunately for me, the ones I go to do not have a lot of people using their connection on a regular basis.

jackyjee 0 Newbie Poster

it is not out of place to mention here that the libraries are played vital roll for accessing information through out the world. Due to increase in number of users on internet the load has been shifted ultimately on these sites. budget my like to enhanced through publice financing for make these for more useful for internet users

MktgRob 7 Nearly a Posting Virtuoso

Where I live on Long Island, some of the Town governments are installing community wi-fi access in certain areas. What is cool about this is that at many of the community parks there are electrical outlets in the picnic areas and you can get some fresh air while going on line. Or, more reasonable, if your house is within one of these community hotspots you can access from their. Also, some hotels are offering wi fi access to patrons so if you go to one of their restaurants to eat you can access from there also. As most hotels have bar areas where you can order food you can walk in off the street, order an adult beverage and some food and go online.

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