In down economy, libraries are on frontline of connecting Americans with online government, job resources

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on September 21, 2009

News release: “With national unemployment topping 9 percent and many Americans seeking online information and new technology skills that can help keep them and their families afloat in hard times, U.S. public libraries are first responders in a time of economic uncertainty. Libraries Connect Communities 3: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2008-2009, a new report released by the American Library Association (ALA), says libraries are serving as crucial technology hubs for people in need of free Web access, computer training, and assistance finding and using E-Government and job resources. The study finds that more than 71 percent of all libraries (and 79 percent of rural libraries) report they are the only source of free access to computers and the Internet in their communities. Sixty-six percent of public libraries rank job-seeking services, including resume writing and Internet job searches, among the most crucial online services they offer – up from 44 percent two years ago. In a separate survey, 80 percent of New York libraries indicated they helped someone search for a job in late 2008.”

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