The Public Library Association (PLA) is currently fielding the 2023 Public Library Technology Survey. It seeks to understand the current and emerging trends in public library technology resources, training, infrastructure, staff support, and budgets. The survey includes questions such as:
- Do you have digital media or maker production equipment for patron use at your library?
- What types of technology-based equipment does your library circulate?
- Do you provide space for patrons to conduct individual telehealth sessions?
- What are the greatest challenges your library faces in providing digital literacy assistance or training?
- What factors affect your library’s ability to increase its broadband connectivity?
- What components of your library’s technology infrastructure have been added, replaced, or upgraded in the past 2 years?
- What types of IT support staff are utilized by your library?
- Outside of the operating budget, what funding sources are used for your library’s technology needs?
These same topics were covered in the 2020 Technology Survey. Data gathered that year has proven critical in advocacy for pandemic relief funding. It has also informed conversations with state and national policymakers about the technology infrastructure libraries already have in place and the best ways to build on that to better support communities nationwide.
PLA’s Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment Committee worked hard to simplify the 2023 survey and ensure it collects the most relevant data for the field. New questions this year cover library services for home broadband adoption, digital navigators, and technology training for library staff.
Why should you participate? Library leaders need up-to-date and accurate information for planning and decision making. Your responses will help the field understand current and emerging trends and what has changed since 2020. You can contribute to powerful and actionable results that will inform elected officials, the media, and other stakeholders about the valuable services libraries provide.
The 2023 Public Library Technology survey is open now through December 16. All US public libraries are invited to participate. One person—such as the library director, administrator, or data coordinator—should login to your library’s free Benchmark account at librarybenchmark.org to submit responses. Participants are entered to win free group registration for a PLA webinar (four locale-specific winning libraries will be drawn from city, suburban, town, and rural participants).