Cross-European public library study – European Union final research report

Abstract

What impacts do public libraries in the European Union have on users’ lives? As public libraries in the EU expand their offerings to include access to information and communications technologies (ICTs) like computers and the Internet, are the perceptions and uses of public libraries supporting EU policies related to growth, education, and cohesion as found in the Europe 2020 Strategy? Research conducted by TNS across 17 EU countries identifies public library perceptions and types of use. The research estimates that there are more than 65,000 public libraries across the whole of the EU, with the majority offering public access computers. Approximately 13.9 million adults across the EU have used public access computers in libraries in the last 12 months, with usage highest among young people (ages 15-24), and traditionally digitally excluded or socially excluded groups particularly reliant on the service. 83% of public access computer users indicated that they had benefited from at least one impact, with the most common impact being saving time and money. Other findings include widespread informal learning activity in libraries, 4.1 million adults using library computers to support some employment related activity, and 3.3 million adults using PACs to interact with public authorities.

Recommended Citation

Quick, S., Prior, G., Toombs, B., Taylor, L., & Currenti, R. (2013). Cross-European survey to measure users’ perceptions of the benefits of ICT in public libraries (funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).