Cross-European survey on public perceptions of public libraries

What impact do public libraries have on the lives of people across the European Union? Public library perceptions surveys were conducted in 17 European Union countries covering general public library use and use of public access computers in libraries.  

Key findings

The research estimates that there are more than 65,000 public libraries across the whole of the EU, with the majority offering public access computers. Approximately 13.9 million adults across the EU have used public access computers in libraries in the last 12 months, with usage highest among young people (ages 15-24) and traditionally digitally excluded or socially excluded groups particularly reliant on the service. 

 83% of public access computer users indicated that they had benefited from at least one impact, with the most common impact being saving time and money.

About the surveys

Conducted in 2012, the surveys had more than 42,00 respondents and were supplemented by more than seventy focus groups to gather an in-depth picture. The countries covered account for over 90% of the European Communities' population. This research was commissioned by the Global Libraries Initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Main report

Country reports