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Managing and Assessing Internet Service Needs and Use of Under-served Pupulations at Public Libraries

Yunkeum Kim (

Presented at ASIST 2004 Annual Meeting; "Managing and Enhancing Information: Cultures and Conflicts" (ASIST AM 04), Providence, Rhode Island, November 13 - 18, 2004


This paper describes the process of survey research using 386 Internet service users at four public libraries at upper Midwest region and discusses how public libraries need to approach the library's under-served populations’ Information needs and use at Internet workstations. In this research, the Internet service users are narrowly defined as Internet service users at public library Internet workstations. The major reason for this definition is that new public library Internet services have been established using external funding sources in order to provide Internet connections and services for under-served populations. Based on this concept, the surveys were taken from Internet service users at public library Internet workstations only, not including other possible Internet service users who might connect to a library website from other Internet connection sources. The primary objective of this research was to identify the relationships between public library Internet service users’ perceived Internet service satisfaction with users’ demographic and Internet use variables. In order to test the effect of the demographic characteristics on user satisfaction, and Internet use and level of expertise variables on user satisfaction, statistical techniques such as linear regression, ANOVA, and multiple comparisons were employed. The result showed no statistical impact of users’ demographic characteristics (gender, level of education, age, race, income level, and occupational status) on user satisfaction. However, the result showed that “the years of Internet use,” “status of instructional classes taken,” and “the level of Internet use expertise” have statistically significant impacts on user satisfaction. The research finding suggested the needs of a new vision to satisfy Internet users’ Internet service needs and use for future public library Internet services.

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