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ALA and W.K. Kellogg Foundation distribute report

Library Systems Newsletter [January 1997]

The American Library Association and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation have recently published Buildings, Books, and Bytes; Libraries and Communities in the Digital Age. The study, which was funded by Kellogg, was undertaken by the Benton Foundation. The focus of the study was the willingness of the public to support libraries as they confront the digital world.

At the heart of the study is the compilation of data from a public opinion survey undertaken in April 1996. One conclusion drawn from the data is that "Americans continue to have a love affair with their libraries, but they have difficulty figuring out where libraries fit in the new digital world." The purchasing of new books is still considered the most important role of libraries by well over two-thirds of those surveyed, but nearly half consider the availability of computers and access to online services very important. The setting up of computers in public places such as shopping malls and community centers is considered very important by only one in five respondents.

There is a great reluctance to increase taxes to fund the cost of technology in libraries. There also is reluctance to pay for services such as access to personal computers and online services. Over one-third would not be willing to pay anything; more than half would pay no more than $25 a year; and only six percent would consider paying $50 a year.

Over 20,000 copies of the report have been mailed to ALA members in leadership positions. Copies are also available on request to the Benton Foundation. Soon to be available will be a companion report of case studies of pioneering libraries that are expanding services and forging new alliances in the digital age. [Contact: Benton Foundation, 1634 Eye Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20006; 202-638-5770; e-mail]

View Citation
Publication Year:1997
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Library Systems Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 17 Number 01
Issue:January 1997
Publisher:American Library Association
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Notes:Howard S. White, Editor-in-Chief; Richard W. Boss, Contributing Editor
Subject: Digital libraries
Record Number:5521
Last Update:2024-05-24 09:08:01
Date Created:0000-00-00 00:00:00