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Enhancing Digital Information Access in Public Libraries

Yan Quan Liu

ASIS&T Annual Meeting - 2006 (ASIS&T 2006)
Austin, Texas, November 3-9, 2006


This paper reports on results of qualitative interviews conducted in public libraries in New England (The first report was in Connecticut and presented in ASIS&T 2004). The study investigates how public library patrons actually use the libraries’ websites/digital libraries in a cross-section of urban and suburban libraries in Connecticut, and how free access to information technology affects the information needs of the residents. A literature review shows that although digital resources have been available in some urban and suburban communities for a number of years, little is known about how the residents interact with public digital libraries, how they use the information gleaned from this technology, or if the information they receive from it is useful to them. There has been little empirical attention given to the effect that access to digital resources has had on the lives of urban and suburban residents. The results of this study help fill this void in digital library research.

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