New Video and Research Shows that Libraries Play a Key Role in Connecting the Disconnected

In recent research and activities, Connected Nation has found that libraries, across the country, are playing a critical role in connecting America’s disconnected. And, Americans are already speaking out about how libraries are transforming their families’ lives through broadband. Connected Nation has captured some of these stories in a video called “Connecting America Through Broadband at the Library.” In addition, Connected Nation’s survey research--which was recently filed in a policy brief with the Federal Communications Commission—further validates the important role libraries play as a community technology hub.

Washington, DC (Vocus) October 30, 2009

In recent research and activities, Connected Nation has found that libraries, across the country, are playing a critical role in connecting America’s disconnected. And, Americans are already speaking out about how libraries are transforming their families’ lives through broadband.

Connected Nation has captured some of these stories in a video called “Connecting America Through Broadband at the Library.” In addition, Connected Nation’s survey research--which was recently filed in a policy brief with the Federal Communications Commission—further validates the important role libraries play as a community technology hub.

Below are some of these testimonies.

Watch Video “Connecting America Through Broadband at the Library.”

Along with this anecdotal evidence, Connected Nation conducted surveys across the states of Tennessee and Ohio to better understand the role of libraries in the broadband age. The report has been filed with the FCC, encouraging the commission to consider the important role community anchor institutions—specifically libraries—play in the national broadband plan.

Key findings of this survey research include:

  •     Significant percentages of those who normally don't subscribe to broadband – specifically single parents, minorities and low-income residents – are relying on the local library as their sole or primary Internet resource: 25 percent of single parents, 25 percent of minorities, 18 percent of low income residents, and 11 percent of people with disabilities depend on libraries for Internet connections.
  •     More than one-half of library Internet users (51 percent) have children at home, suggesting that a significant portion of library Internet users are children. Of this group, 42 percent do not have a broadband connected computer at home.
  •     Library Internet users are significantly more likely than other Internet users (those who connect at home or elsewhere) to use a number of online applications related to workforce development and education, civic engagement and healthcare.
  •     Nearly half of library Internet users (46 percent) search for jobs online, compared to 29 percent of other Internet users.
  •     Library Internet users are significantly more likely than other Internet users to communicate online with local government officials (25 percent compared to 14 percent.)
  •     28 percent of library Internet users communicate online with healthcare professionals, compared to 16 percent of other Internet users.

To view the filing, click here. To view more data from this survey, click here to view graphs.

These voices and research are already helping Connected Nation work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in a pilot program called Opportunity Online.

This initiative partners the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Connected Nation and the American Library Association to host broadband summits for librarians, public and private leaders and other influencers in six different states.

These summits help communities across each state devise a plan for greater library connectivity, especially for libraries that cannot offer broadband connected computers. Following the summits, the libraries are offered the opportunity to apply for grants to help fund their connectivity plans.

To learn more about the Opportunity Online summits, click here.

For more information, contact Jessica Ditto at jditto@connectednation.org or (202) 251-4749.

Related Links:
FCC Filing: Connecting America through Broadband at the Library:
A Connected Nation® Policy Brief

Watch Video: Connecting America Through Broadband at the Library

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