January 28, 2013

Americans Say Free Access to Internet a Very Important Library Service

77%

Three quarters say it is very important that public libraries offer free access to computers and the internet.

The availability of free computers and internet access now rivals book lending and reference expertise as a vital service of the nation’s public libraries.

Fully 77% of those surveyed say that offering free access to computers and the internet is a “very important” service for public libraries to provide. That’s about the same as the 80% each who say book-borrowing and providing librarians who can help people find information are very important services.

Programs for children and teens and research resources such as free databases also rank highly, as do job, employment and career resources and free activities such as classes and cultural events.

African Americans and Hispanics are more likely than whites to say that providing free access to computers and the internet is very important. About nine-in-ten blacks (92%) and Hispanics (86%) say this, compared with 72% of whites. Read more