It’s only a few weeks to go now until we reach an important anniversary. October 15th marks 20 years since a proposal for providing a network of public access computers was first published in a DCMS commissioned report: New Library: The People’s Network.
Today, public libraries the length and breadth of the UK provide a total of over 40,000 PCs for their customers’ free use. It’s an essential piece of infrastructure that millions rely on each year for getting online. While it may have lacked wider recognition over recent years, its users and the staff that support it regard the People’s Network as a vital public service, and one that many would be quite lost without.
In our recent customer research which surveyed over half of all public library authorities, 80% agreed that the People’s Network is an ‘essential’ resource, with the rest rating it as ‘very important’. 70% of libraries reported stable or increasing public PC usage in 2016.
While these statistics are useful for evidencing the continuing importance of the People’s Network, they don’t provide the insight for really understanding what it’s all about. For this you need first-hand accounts from the library staff themselves...