The Digital Divide is Real.

If you hear from people, as I do, that “the digital divide is gone,” make your meanest, angriest librarian face and tell them the facts.
If someone tells you that “only homeless people checking email and bratty kids playing games ever use the computers,” take a photo of your computer users some afternoon and then staple it to that person’s chest with a very large staple gun.
The digital divide is alive and well (unfortunately), and the public library is the only thing standing between our users and complete disconnection from the modern information world.
 ~ The Public Library as Your Community’s Digital Bridge | Librarian in Black Blog – Sarah Houghton

Last week the Librarian in Black posted a very moving entry on the current status of the Digital Divide, and I have to say that I completely agree with her.

The technology my library provides is absolutely crucial to the well-being of so many people of all ages and backgrounds in my community. Teens do their homework, play games, chat with each other, search for jobs, and yes, they play hours of Minecraft and League of Legends, too. The unemployed spend hours editing resumes and cover letters, searching and applying for jobs, and responding to email. Businessmen and women print out documents, scan and email documents, and use our fax services. Local historians and others interested in genealogy and history use our many ancestry and newspaper databases tens of thousands of times a month.

These people do all of these things at the library, and with the library’s technology and devices. This is because they do not have access to these resources at home, work, or school. The library provides the technology for free. If this library did not exist these people would have no where else to go within 5 miles to get the access to technology that they need.

So who says the digital divide doesn’t exist anymore? I say in this “digital age” in which some people have smartphones with 24/7 access to the internet, the digital divide is more important than ever because those with access are getting so much better access all the time while those without get nothing.


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