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New study shows one-third of Americans use library computers

A recently-released study by the Bill and Melida Gates Foundation showed that one-third of Americans age 14 and older “use public library computers to look for jobs, connect with friends, do their homework and improve their lives.” The study is nicely summarized in an Associated Press article, and comes at a time when libraries are struggling to justify their funding. The AP article interviews Michael Crandall, one of the principal authors of the study and chairman of the Master of Science in Information Management at the University of Washington Information School. Crandall has an interesting observation for patrons seeking medical information via library computers:

“In the health area, over 80 percent of the users said they made a change in their diet after using library computers,” Crandall said, adding that he did not know if the change was permanent. (from the AP article)

The Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library provides quality-filtered medical resources on its website, many of which are free to the public. Among the many great places to begin looking for information is UtaHealthNet, whose goal is

“to increase access to high quality health information, resources, services and programs in order to increase the quality of life for all Utah residents and visitors. The focus is on health information, services and support throughout the state which will serve Utah’s health information seekers regardless of geographic location.”

Check it out!