Monday, August 15, 2005

Tired, but Not Gone

The term "digital divide" may be a tired old cliche for some, but I get asked about what libraries can do to help people who don't have access to technology more than any other single question when I'm on the road talking about the scan. For many library workers I've spoken to, the digital divide is ongoing reality. They see people who've been defeated by many factors---the poverty and racism and lack of equal opportunity that Alane points out---and they see computers as just one more place where this defeat plays out. For these folks, the digital divide isn't an abstraction, it's a daily experience.

3 comments:

Alane said...

And my point, George, is that providing computers and Internet access without the rest of the stuff is providing the fish, not the fishing lessons and poles. You don't want people to starve while they learn to fish but you don't want to be in the fast food biz either.

Roy Tennant said...

Alane, I'm afraid I'm with George and Karen Schneider on this one. If you can't download a job application because you are without a computer and an Internet connection, you don't give a flying hoot about literacy programs -- you have a basic failure of access to the appropriate technology. It's like if you were walking around with a CD but no player. Having someone teach you the benefits and drawbacks of the CD format isn't what you need -- what you need is access to the stupid player. Only after that would information on the CD format be even remotely appropriate.

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