The Dude has been busy reviewing all your public library surveys and trying his best to answer your questions about what to report where (sometimes it’s a judgment call), but took a bit of time to throw together this little technology tidbit. Keep the surveys coming, as the response rate is roughly 50% at the moment, and the deadline is Friday the 13th of February
. One more item of note before heading to the stats, and that is, please let me know about any suggestions for next year’s survey (and keep in mind that getting rid of it altogether is not an option). Some of you have already sent suggestions, and I have ideas of my own, but I’d certainly like to hear your thoughts.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau
, More than 21% of Nebraskans do not have access to high speed internet (a paid internet service other than dial-up) at home. This is close to the national average (about 22%), and thus underlies the importance of public offerings for technology services (such as libraries). The leader is New Hampshire, with almost 86% of its residents living in a household with high speed internet, and just over 93% in a household with a computer. These numbers do not address the FCC’s recent redefinition
of what constitutes “broadband” (and by implication “high speed”), as the FCC now labels broadband as anything more than 25 Mbps.
According to the 2013 public library survey
(last year’s survey), Nebraska libraries provide:
- Free public internet access (99% of libraries with 2.2 Million annual uses)
- Free WiFi (94% of libraries)
Even if, or rather, when
, improvements are made to services and pricing so that high speed or broadband becomes more prevalent in more households (and hopefully the FCC’s redefinition expedites that), there will still be the need to address the digital literacy of the users. Just because I got the new dual motor, AWD, 691 hp, 3.2 seconds to 60 mph, all electric, zero emissions Tesla Model S P85D
doesn’t mean I know how to drive it well. The Dude would have the patience to try and learn, however, if given the opportunity. OK, perhaps comparing the Tesla Model S P85D to 25 Mbps broadband isn’t an apt analogy, but the point is that even with increased speed and access, there will be a need for assistance navigating the waters, and that’s where libraries and librarians have the opportunity to excel. To further illustrate, last year’s Digital Inclusion Survey
noted that Nebraska libraries also provided:
- Online employment resources (98% of libraries)
- Computer training (97% of libraries)
- Assistance with completing government forms online (98% of libraries)