New Castle News

Letters to the Editor

March 12, 2014

Library survey to eye technology benefits

NEW CASTLE — Editor, The News:

I want to draw attention to an important opportunity.

From March 17 to 30, the New Castle Public Library will be conducting a survey to better understand how our community benefits from free access to computers and the Internet at the library. This information will help the library improve its technology services and communicate the value of providing these services. The Impact Survey is anonymous, available in English and Spanish, and takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

People from all walks of life use library computers to perform routine and life-changing tasks, from emailing friends to finding jobs. A 2009 study conducted by the University of Washington reported that use of library technology had significant impact in four critical areas: employment, education, health and making community connections. The study revealed that 40 percent of library computer users (an estimated 30 million people) received help with employment needs. Among these users, 75 percent reported they searched for jobs online.

The study said 37 percent focused on health issues and 82 percent of these users used the computers to learn about a disease, illness or medical condition. One-third sought out doctors or health care providers and about half followed up by making appointments.

And 42 percent received help with educational needs. Among these users, 37 percent (an estimated 12 million students) used their local library computer to do homework.

Library computers link patrons to their government, communities and civic organizations.

In order for the library to meet our community’s technology needs and to demonstrate how providing these services make a difference, it’s important that we have such information at a local level. People should go to the library website www.ncdlc.org to fill out the impact survey or access it from one of the library’s public access computers.

Beverly Gocal

president

Friends of the New Castle

Public Library

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