Jaeger Article, The Policy implications of Internet connectivity in Public Libraries.
Jaeger et al. found that 99.6% of all public libraries provided Internet access on their public terminals. However, there were still things related to that access that continued the digital divide. What were the issues?
The issues that still exist are:
Sufficiency of connectivity, rural areas are being left behind in levels of connectivity. Being connected is not the same as having sufficient levels of connectivity. There is also no definition of what sufficient or appropriate connectivity is, causing a problem to achieve sufficient access.
Levels of Public Access, the library may be the only source of access for people, and recently the government has been encouraging more and more Internet use for basic governmental procedures. However, if the libraries may not be able to supply the public with enough access to do so.
Continuing gaps in access, rural areas are being left behind in the level of access and the level of connectivity available to them.
Sources of funding for technology, the libraries need to update their access as technology advances. This costs money and funding. A library needs continual funding to provide a community with access, and this requires support from federal, state, and local governments.
Questions of public access, as homeland security issues are being raised with legislation like the Patriot Act, Libraries are being forced to choose between monitoring what patron's are doing online vs. supporting patron's rights and Privacy.
Lastly, The digital Inclusion, this is the argument that focuses on the amount of people who have access. This is different than the digital divide, which focuses on who doesn't have access. This creates the impression that the problem of the digital divide is solved, and that nothing else has to be done, which is false.
9 years ago