All public libraries are encouraged to participate in the new Digital Inclusion Survey at http://digitalinclusion.umd.edu, before November 15, 2013.
Documenting the impact of libraries in the Digital Age is more important than ever as government officials make difficult decisions with increasingly tightened public funds. Studies show that libraries are vital digital hubs that provide access to public access technologies and digital content, and that millions of people use those technologies for education, employment, civic engagement, and health purposes and to enhance their digital literacy skills. In doing so, public libraries are essential to the building of digitally inclusive communities.
The Digital Inclusion Survey is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and conducted by the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Research & Statistics and the Information Policy & Access Center at the University of Maryland. The International City/County Management Association and the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy serve as partners on the grant.
Why is your participation important? Participation in the survey will allow your library to:
- Get a better sense of your community’s needs, challenges, and opportunities through interactive tools.
- Communicate with decision makers about the value of your library’s technology-enabled services and public access technologies.
- Articulate how your library helps build a digitally inclusive community, supporting 21st century workforce development, digital literacy, education, and a healthy community.
- Identify where your library’s services and resources are meeting community needs and where there might be room for improvement or a need for new partners to extend the library’s reach.
How do you participate? Go to http://digitalinclusion.umd.edu/ and follow the ‘Complete the Survey’ button. In addition to the survey questions, libraries are requested to complete a speed test. Instructions are on the first page when you log in to the survey. Speed capture is automatic.
Can you see the survey questions before answering them? Yes, you can access a PDF version of the survey sections on the survey project website. Please note that the print and Web surveys are slightly different in terms of layout and presentation. Questions are the same.
Can you save your answers and finish the survey later? Yes, you can save your answers at anytime by clicking the ‘stop and resume later’ button at the bottom of each survey question page. To get back into the survey later, use your ID to login, find your library and click the button that says ‘resume’ or ‘completed.’ You can also print a copy of the completed survey for your records.
How long will it take to complete the survey? Test estimates range from 20 minutes to 40 minutes.
This new survey builds on the research collected via the Public Libraries & the Internet Survey. A newly created Public Libraries and Digital Inclusion (pdf) issue brief showcases the data collected from libraries in 2011-2012, and provides an excellent example of the tools made available as a result of broad public library participation.
More information regarding the study and survey, including other examples of data use, interactive data tools, issue briefs regarding public libraries and aspects of digital inclusion, is available at http://digitalinclusion.umd.edu.
And if you're still not sure, here is ALA's list of Top 5 Reasons to Participate!