U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies

Via beSpecific. The 2010 study of U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies by Zeth Lietzau & Jamie Helgren, publishes in April 2011, was funded through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) by the Colorado State Library, Colorado Department of Education.

It’s well known that technology is changing at an increasingly rapid pace and that many public libraries throughout the United States are attempting to adopt new technologies to better reach their patrons. In trade journals, blogs, and at library conferences, professionals in the field have continually discussed the best methods for using web technologies to enhance the success of the public library. In keeping with this discussion, in late 2007 the Library Research Service (LRS) designed the first iteration of the U.S. Public Libraries and the Use of Web Technologies study. In the midst of a conversation largely focused on best practices, this study was envisioned from its inception as a longitudinal study with several goals. Primarily, it attempts to record the landscape of web technology adoption by public libraries in the United States. While most of the discourse thus far has focused on what should and should not be done to better use technologies, there has not yet been much research examining how and how many libraries actually are adopting various web technologies. This study attempts to put that in perspective. Another intention of this study is to examine the characteristics of the libraries that are adopting technology in an attempt to tease out the factors that lead them to try out various tools.  We are also interested in determining whether or not the adoption of specific types of technology leads to “success” as traditionally defined in public libraries.

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