Is your library meeting the digital needs of your community? This is a complicated question, and one you need an answer to when reaching out to community stakeholders. This is also a timely question as it feeds into a hot topic at the local, state, and national level: the critical need for digitally inclusive communities.
The easiest way to answer this burning question is to participate in the Digital Inclusion Survey, which will generate unique data to illustrate the role your library plays in digital literacy, economic and workforce development, health and wellness, civic engagement, e-government, and public access to the internet. The survey findings will highlight the unique attributes of library services for community well-being, and what libraries provide that few other community-based entities can provide.
Most importantly, for the first time, participating libraries will be able to see their individual library data within a community context with an interactive mapping feature. The map incorporates data from the U.S. Census, American Community Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the National Center for Education Statistics, generating library-specific data for general demographics, household income, unemployment rates, education attainment, English proficiency, and more. You will be able to view the breakout for your library not only for your full service area, but by neighborhood. The map includes a drawing tool that allowing for customized area selection and analysis.
Combining the new survey data with the community data of the interactive map can help you 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.
Participation in the survey will also provide critically important current information to support the work of ALA to leverage libraries in the open proceeding on the E-rate program at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the President’s proposal for a ConnectED initiative.
You have until November 15, 2013, to complete the survey. In addition to the survey questions, libraries are requested to complete a broadband speed test (speed capture is automatic).
The Digital Inclusion Survey is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and conducted by ALA and the Information Policy & Access Center at the University of Maryland, in partnership with the International City/County Management Association.