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Historically, library usage has increased during economic downturns. In the pre-Internet era, this meant increased usage of print materials and reference services. In the…
Historically, library usage has increased during economic downturns. In the pre-Internet era, this meant increased usage of print materials and reference services. In the Internet era, however, the number of roles that public libraries can play in serving their communities has expanded greatly. This chapter provides insights into the ways in which American public libraries are using the Internet to meet patron, community, and government needs in this time of economic crisis. Drawing from the data and findings from the 2010–2011 Public Library Funding and Technology Access national survey, this chapter examines key issues at the intersection of public libraries, the Internet, and economic uncertainty and library/e-government partnerships that have resulted from the economic situation. In these difficult economic circumstances, US public libraries have been able to use the Internet to meet many vital patron and community needs, but they still face numerous economic difficulties in responding to these requests.
This chapter explores the historical and evolving relationship between human rights, social justice, and library support of these efforts through physical and digital…
This chapter explores the historical and evolving relationship between human rights, social justice, and library support of these efforts through physical and digital access, as well as relevant legal frameworks.
We explore the connection between libraries, technology, human rights, and social justice. The human rights and social justice functions of libraries are descriptive of what libraries have become in the age of the Internet. Many aspects of the information and communication capabilities that are provided through Internet access have been leveraged to promote human rights and social justice throughout the world.
There is practical evidence through case studies and survey results that libraries have primarily embraced this direction through offering many individuals without Internet access or technology experience a place of physical access, education, and an ongoing atmosphere of inclusion and accessibility as society embraces an increasingly digital future. This focus on rights and justice exists within varying legal structures related to people with disabilities and to values of rights and justice. Many libraries have also created programs and services that are targeted toward online equity for people with disabilities. This proactive response regarding digital accessibility is indicative of the likelihood that there is an inclusive future for libraries and their services to the broadest of their communities.
Highlighting this role and a motto of access for all will enable libraries to expand their significant contributions to human rights and social justice that extend beyond the traditional physical infrastructure and space of libraries.
Usability, functionality, and accessibility testing of digital library information services and products is essential for providing high quality services to users. This…
Usability, functionality, and accessibility testing of digital library information services and products is essential for providing high quality services to users. This paper aims to detail a long‐term, evolving effort to develop meaningful evaluations for assessing digital libraries.
A multi‐year study to determine appropriate evaluation techniques, tools, and methodologies for the Florida Electronic Library (FEL) and other digital library efforts. The evaluation protocols and approaches were designed iteratively over time through assessment efforts with other digital library initiatives and with multiple versions of the FEL. The research described in this paper relies on a combination of functionality, usability, and accessibility evaluation strategies applied iteratively to assess libraries from the perspective of patron needs.
By combining these three methodologies, the researchers found that they were able to create a rich and robust evaluation of digital libraries, accounting for needs of diverse user populations. These methodologies can provide detailed evaluations of the extent to which information and services are comprehensible for all users, the extent to which the features and functions necessary to provide library functions operate properly, and the extent to which the digital library meets the needs of a diverse population of users.
This paper aims to demonstrate the potential roles of multiple, iterative evaluation strategies in the development and refinement of digital libraries; details the methodologies that focus on how the services meet the needs of users; and encourages further discussion of the uses of these multiple evaluation approaches in assessing these libraries.
This paper is an interim report of a study under way in the USA with the goal of developing a core set of national statistics and performance measures that…
This paper is an interim report of a study under way in the USA with the goal of developing a core set of national statistics and performance measures that librarians,researchers, and policy‐makers can use to describe public library and library‐based state‐wide network use of the Internet and Web‐based services and resources. The paper summarises preliminary findings and key issues identified as of January 2000. It describes a number of models for developing such statistics and performance measures. The paper also offers a number of preliminary statistics and performance measures that are being field‐tested to describe information resources and services in the networked environment. The authors expect to have a final set of such statistics and performance measures by the summer of 2000.
This chapter introduces the role that libraries have played in the struggle for equity and access for people with disabilities. It explores the historical evolution of the…
This chapter introduces the role that libraries have played in the struggle for equity and access for people with disabilities. It explores the historical evolution of the library and its service to patrons with disabilities and the significance that the now dominant role of the Internet and digital library resources hold in the realm of equal access to information and resources.
We introduce the three sections in this book beginning with libraries and their service and engagement of patrons with disabilities, continuing with a discussion of the accessibility of digital library resources, and concluding with a discussion of international laws and policies that relate to libraries and digital inclusion.
The Internet and related information and communication technologies have offered libraries around the world many new opportunities to support and extend their activities to support accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities. The structure of this book and its case studies provide inspiration for libraries and librarians that seek to expand the inclusion of their libraries and the communities that they support.
This chapter introduces a book that is intended to provide best practices and innovative ideas to share amongst libraries, while publicizing the contributions of libraries in promoting social inclusion of and social justice for people with disabilities to those in the library community, and helping libraries to better articulate their contributions in these areas to disability groups, funders, policymakers, and other parts of their communities.