Libraries: More Than Books | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Most librarians can help you find books. But in Colorado, they are helping patrons build skills and explore new careers.
http://www.gates foundation.org/ united-states-libraries/ Pages/overview.aspx
Tags: Colorado (US State) United States (Country) Libraries educational library gates foundation
Added: 1 year ago
[scene opens with several still photographs of the town of Keenesburg in Colorado]
ERIN: [in voice over] Keenesburg is a, a small town on the plains of Colorado.
[cut to a male patron using a computer in the public library]
ERIN: [in voice over] More and more, the resources that people need in order to be successful in their lives are moving online. You can't do a lot of things with e-government unless you're online, you can't apply for a job unless you're online.
["Each year, more than 22 million Americans rely on libraries to find a job" appears on screen]
[cut to another male patron using a computer in the Milliken Public Computer Center (part of the High Plains Library District)]
GENE: [in voice over] I was unemployed.
[cut to the patron ("Gene Jaramillo, Library Patron") speaking directly to the camera]
GENE: The company I worked at, which I thought I would retire from, ended up closing after eighteen years. So, I was out looking for a job.
[cut back to the patron at the computer]
GENE: [in voice over] I needed skills.
[cut to an exterior shot of the computer center]
GENE: [in voice over] I walked in here, uh, and I noticed all these new computers being installed in here. And I thought, "Wow, that's pretty neat. I-I wish I knew how to run 'em."
[cut to a young female librarian ("Erin Kirchoefer, Public Computer Center Supervisor, High Plains Library District") speaking directly to the camera]
ERIN: I whipped around and said ... "Oh, we offer that service here!"
ERIN: And, uh, scheduled to book a librarian appointment with him.
[cut to the librarian sitting next to the patron as he types up his resume in Microsoft Word]
ERIN: [in voice over] These public computer centers are enabling people to enhance their skills and connect to things that they were kind of being shut out of before.
GENE: [in voice over] I was able to create my resume, fine-tune my resume, and send my resume.
[cut to a closeup of a sign reading "High Plains Library District at Keenesburg. Great Computers. Friendly Help. Everyone's Welcome.", as "1 in 3 people in the U.S. do not have access to the Internet in their homes" appears on screen]
[cut to another female librarian ("Jamie Hollier, Project Coordinator, Colorado State Library") speaking directly to the camera]
JAMIE: These computer centers are much more than just a computer ... much more than just internet access.
[cut to a female patron typing at the computer]
JAMIE: [in voice over] They're an education place, a gathering place, they fill a lot of roles.
[cut to a still image of a scarecrow set up next to a mailbox]
JAMIE: [in voice over] Especially in rural Colorado.
[cut back to Jamie speaking directly to the camera]
JAMIE: We have eighty four public computer centers, um, across the state.
[cut back to an exterior shot of the computer center]
JAMIE: [in voice over] Some are in libraries, some are in town halls. Um, some are in community centers ... um, tribal museums.
[cut back to Erin and Gene sitting in front of the computer]
JAMIE: [in voice over] The program has been integral to giving us the access to resources and tools and training, to help make sure that no one is getting left behind.
[cut to Gene smiling at the camera]
GENE: [in voice over] Because of skills that she helped me with, now I'll have a job starting next week.
["Investments in libraries are working" appears on screen]
["See how digital services are transforming lives at www dot gatesfoundation dot org" appears on screen]
U.S. Public Libraries Provide Access to Computers, the Internet, and Technology Training
New study shows libraries need support to sustain quality access to free computer services
CHICAGO -- Nearly every U.S. public library offers free access to computers and the Internet, but overall libraries are challenged to provide enough workstations to meet demand, pay for ongoing Internet connectivity costs, and plan for necessary upgrades to the technology, according to a report released today at the opening of the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference. The report was conducted by the Information Use Management and Policy Institute at Florida State University (FSU) and commissioned by the ALA and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
New data shows that 98.9 percent of all public libraries offer free public access to computers and the Internet—a growth of more than 400 percent since 1996, when just one in four libraries did.
Millions of Americans use computers in public libraries to access government services, research health information, enroll in distance-learning classes, and start small businesses. Library computers have become so popular that more than 85 percent of libraries say they are not able to meet demand for computers at certain times during the day.
"Libraries are an indispensable resource for Americans seeking information online and in print," said ALA President Carol Brey Casiano. "Visits to public libraries have more than doubled to 1.2 billion annually in the past 12 years, and many of these people are coming for computer and Internet access. To ensure free and open access for all Americans, we must keep library doors open and fund library technology initiatives."
The new report reveals that, in the past year, technology budgets for most public library systems have stayed level with no increase for inflation or expansion of service (50.6 percent). More than one-third of public library systems reported an increase in their technology budget (36.1 percent), while more than one in 10 systems reported a decrease (13.3 percent).
"Libraries connect communities with information and knowledge, but we must work together to ensure they stay connected for generations to come," said Martha Choe, director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Libraries program. "Libraries need ongoing support from government, businesses, foundations and citizens to pay for ongoing costs such as Internet access fees, technology upgrades, and technical assistance."
Public libraries rely on federal, state and local funds, as well as private donations to pay for computing services. The federal E-rate program, which helps offset telecommunications costs, has been credited with helping libraries purchase high-speed connectivity sooner than they could have afforded otherwise. Public libraries received approximately $60 million annually in E-rate discounts.
The FSU report reveals disparities in public library computer services between urban and rural communities and between states. Rural public libraries are much more likely to have lower levels of broadband connectivity, while libraries serving urban and high poverty areas are more likely to report an inadequate number of workstations for patrons.
Urban libraries also offer more technology training for patrons (64 percent) than rural libraries (16 percent). Seniors are the most likely of all audiences to receive technology training at libraries (57 percent), followed closely by people who do not have Internet access at home and adults seeking continuing education.
Training and distance learning require that public libraries have current technology and fast Internet connections; however, most libraries have no set upgrade schedule for hardware (70 percent) and no set schedule for software (77.4 percent). Many public libraries are continuing to increase the speed of their Internet connections and are exploring wireless Internet connectivity. Nearly 18 percent of public libraries have wireless Internet access, and 21 percent are planning wireless access within the next year. Chicago Public Library, which hosted the report release announcement, is one of those libraries. The library began offering free wireless in all 79 of its locations in the city in December 2004.
"U.S. public libraries have gained a tremendous amount of headway as it relates to connectivity and access," said John Bertot, co-author of the report, Associate Director of the Information Use Management and Policy Institute, and professor at Florida State University. "The challenge lies in ensuring that libraries continue to get the support they need to provide necessary improvements to the technology."
The High Plains Library District is partnering with rural communities in Weld County to install Public Computer Centers in community centers and town halls. These centers are being staffed by the local partners, and library staff travel around to provide training and support.
HPLD will eventually be opening nine Public Computer Centers, and have launched six so far. The Keenesburg PCC was launched on June 28, and hosted a free lunch to celebrate (Mayor Danny Kipp grilled the hot dogs!).
HPLD is highlighting one of their PCCs each month. Here are some highlights about Keenesburg:
Location: Town Hall
Motto: Home of 500 Happy People and a Few Soreheads.
Keenesburg's Public Computer Center has opened with a bang! Despite being one of our two smallest PCCs (along with Mead), Keenesburg had 33 people at their launch in June. The community has really embraced the PCC; Mayor Danny Kipp actually donated his office to the computers, relocating himself to an area in the back of Town Hall to make space for the computer center.
Already the computer center is changing lives. Library Associate Jonathan Wisner conducted the first one-on-one computer appointment for the location, assisting a patron in uploading photos from his camera. The patron is an aircraft mechanic, and the FAA requires that he submit photos online. He wasn't able to do his job until Jonathan assisted him at the new PCC. How's that for changing lives?