Further complicating the divide between library resources is the fact that less than two-thirds (64 percent) of rural libraries said they have access to information technology staff, compared to 95 percent of urban and 85 percent of suburban libraries.
Sixty-six percent of all libraries surveyed said they would increase bandwidth if they could, and cited cost as the top barrier to moving forward with those plans.
When it comes to emerging trends, libraries are forging new paths and diversifying the resources that students and community members will find.
The top emerging trends include:
1. STEM maker spaces (16.8 percent)
2. Social media training (45.8 percent)
3. Wireless printing (33 percent)
4. 3D printing (2 percent)
5. Coding, development, hackathons (2 percent)
“Creating is becoming a new digital competency, and libraries are building and expanding their programs and services to meet these changing community needs,” said Ann Joslin, president of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, in a statement about the report. Joslin is the state librarian in Idaho, which implemented a pilot program to support library maker activities and new technologies and tools.
Libraries offer a range of technology access and training, such as:
• Public Wi-Fi (97.5 percent; up from 89 percent in 2012)
• Technology training (98 percent)
• eBook access (89.5 percent; up from 76 percent in 2012)
• Online homework assistance (96.5 percent)
• Online job resources (95.6 percent)
Results are based on a national survey conducted in the fall of 2013.