The “digital divide” is a social phenomenon created by the social obstacles that limit access to computer technology and digital resources. Providing access to this technology and these resources are important parts of public library service in the 21st century.
In March 2002, the Library Research Service conducted a survey of users of Internet computers in Colorado public libraries. Of 1,856 responding public library Internet users from throughout the state, 164 were younger than 18. We found that young people are engaged in wide and frequent use of this technology; that they often serve as teachers of technology skills to adults and peers; and that public libraries help to bridge the ”digital divide” for Colorado’s youth.
Colorado library patrons younger than 18 indicated that…
- 15 percent of kids who use library Internet computers report no other access to the Internet.
- Over three-quarters of these young Internet users were visiting libraries because of the access to technology.
Colorado library Internet users older than 18 indicated that…
- In many instances, kids were their primary source of learning new technology skills.
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