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The State of Library Technology Funding in Today's Economy

Library Technology Reports January 2009

"This issue examines the current state of library-technology funding, looking at common problems and concerns among librarians who make technological decisions for their facilities throughout the United States."

— Dan Freeman, ALA TechSource editor.

In the January 2009 issue of Library Technology Reports, "The State of Funding for Library Technology in Today's Economy" by Larra Clark and Denise Davis, ALA TechSource responds to the economic situation with a timely report that offers a detailed look at the library-funding landscape and features expertly authored practical guidelines for stretching a library's budget as far as it can go.

"The State of Funding for Library Technology in Today's Economy" includes a number of chapters written by expert contributors who offer broadly applicable guidelines for technology planning, budgeting, and saving money. They detail how — through planning, budgeting, and some clever tricks to expand hardware life — libraries' administration and staff members can stretch the budget further than ever imagined.

Contributors include:

In this issue, you'll find 9 chapters (Chapter 1: Introduction and Chapter 9: Conclusion), including:

  • Chapter 2: Key Findings — National Survey Response; Libraries as Community Access Computing and Internet Access Points; Buildings and Infrastructure Further Stretched; Funding Remains Flat for Many Public Libraries; Staffing at a Standstill; Staff Training Needs Outpace Supply; IT Support Lags; Internet Access Speeds Bump Up, Fall Short; Internet Services Show Double-Digit Growth

  • Chapter 3: The Library Funding Landscape: 2007–2008 — Expenditures Shift; Soft Funding Sources Continue to Support Staff Salaries; Technology Expenditures Decline; A Different View—Library Technology Funding by Population Served Ranges; Nontax Revenue; Capturing Funding Data in Your Library

  • Chapter 4: Findings from the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies

  • Chapter 5: Findings from Site Visits — Barriers; Effective Practices; Demand Is Exploding; Planning Is Crucial

  • Chapter 6: On-the-Ground Lessons from OITP's Public Library Connective Study — Barriers to Increasing Broadband; Plans Put into Action

  • Chapter 7: Doing More with Less

  • Chapter 8: Capacity Planning for Broadband in Public Libraries: Issues and Strategies — Building Capacity and Developing a Capacity Plan

This issue of Library Technology Reports grew out of ALA's Libraries Connect Communities Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study. This report, co-authored by Denise Davis and edited by Larra Clark, analyzed library technology funding with an unprecedented level of detail.

About the Authors
Larra Clark is the project manager for the ALA Office for Research & Statistics. She joined the office in late January 2007 after working more than six years in the ALA Public Information Office as the manager of media relations. Clark is the editor and a contributing author for Libraries Connect Communities Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study. She completed her master's in library science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in December 2006. Previously, she worked in nonprofit public affairs, media relations, and print journalism in Chicago and Arizona for more than 10 years.

Denise Davis is the director of the Office for Research & Statistics at the American Library Association. In this position, she provides leadership and expert advice to ALA staff members and the public on all matters related to research and statistics about libraries and librarians; represents the Association to federal agencies on these issues; and initiates projects needed to expand the knowledge base of the field through research and the collection of useful statistics. From 1979-1998, Davis worked in academic, special, and public libraries, and from 1999 to present, she has worked in administration at the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, Oregon State Library, and the American Library Association.

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