The University of Washington Information School has released Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries.
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
Nearly one-third of Americans age 14 or older—roughly 77 million people—used a public library computer or wireless network to access the Internet in the past year, according to a national report released today. In 2009, as the nation struggled through a recession, people relied on library technology to find work, apply for college, secure government benefits, learn about critical medical treatments, and connect with their communities.
The report, Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries, is based on the first, large-scale study of who uses public computers and Internet access in public libraries, the ways library patrons use this free technology service, why they use it, and how it affects their lives. It was conducted by the University of Washington Information School and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. . . .
The report's findings are based on nearly 50,000 surveys—including 3,176 from a national telephone survey and 44,881 web survey responses—from patrons of more than 400 public libraries across the country.