New data shared by the American Library Association confirms that “90 percent of libraries lend e-books, up from 76 percent in 2012.” The study, ALA’s Digital Inclusion Survey, which “collected data from a nationally representative sample of public libraries at the branch/outlet level between September 3 and November 30, 2013” and “received 3,392 responses, for a 70.1 percent response rate,” also found that “98 percent of libraries provide free public access to Wi-Fi, up from 89 percent in 2012,” and “98 percent provide technology training, ranging from internet safety and privacy to coding to using social media.”

Although focused primarily on the initiatives and services offered by U.S. libraries under the auspices of the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the Survey also highlights the enhanced community offerings that libraries can deploy now that they are able “for the first time—to be considered One-Stop partners and eligible for federal funding to support job training and job search programs,” with “adult education and literacy activities provided by public libraries” also “an allowable statewide employment and training activity.”

“Whether it’s a class on internet safety, an entrepreneur who identifies potential customers from databases or a class on digital content creation, libraries continue to establish themselves as digital leaders in communities,” said ALA President Courtney Young. “This study demonstrates how technology investments benefit our libraries and our patrons, and keep our communities thriving.”


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