About us

Background

The Impact Survey is the result of a successful research initiative from the University of Washington with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2009, the University of Washington Information School conducted Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries, which was the first large-scale investigation of the ways U.S. library patrons use computers and the Internet at public libraries, why they use it, and how it impacts their lives. The study included a national online survey that yielded over 45,000 responses and four library case studies. It also piloted a local library survey for individual communities.

Because the patron survey was such a success, the University of Washington Information School has extended the benefits of the Opportunity for All web survey by making the tested and validated survey available to all U.S. public libraries. Now public libraries can conduct their own Impact Survey at their library at any time.

The U.S. Impact Study Team

Michael Crandall is a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Washington Information School. Prior to joining the Information School in January of 2005, he spent five years as Technology Manager for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Libraries and Public Access to Information Program, with responsibility for software development, technical support and network deployment for over 40,000 public access computers in over 11,000 libraries across the United States. As part of this project, Mr. Crandall also initiated and managed the program grant for development of WebJunction, an international public access computing portal.

He was co-Principal Investigator on a $1 million grant funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation studying the impact of public access computing in public libraries on individuals, families and communities across the United States, and completed a similar study of community technology centers in Washington State funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (http://impact.ischool.uw.edu/ccn.html). 

 Samantha Becker is the Principal Research Scientist for the U.S. Impact Study, a research group at the University of Washington Information School focused on digital inclusion programs and policies. She was co-author of the 2009 research report Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries and the 2011 Building Digital Communities framework, and has been lead investigator for numerous evaluation projects. Ms. Becker has a background in public policy evaluation and was a public librarian in Central Vermont before taking a slight detour into the world of library research. Her current work focuses on public access technology and evaluation of public library services. She is particularly interested in how new adult users gain the skills necessary to use information and communication technology. She holds master’s degrees in Library and Information Science and Public Administration from the University of Washington.

Stacey Wedlake is the Research and Communication Coordinator for U.S. Impact Study. She became interested in digital inclusion while a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mongolia and taught technology to community members at local computing centers. Upon returning to the states, she continued to teach technology classes at a nonprofit and community college. In her current role, Stacey loves helping libraries better understand their communities. She holds master's degrees in Library and Information Science and Public Administration from the University of Washington.