In reading the articles presented in the module titled, “The Hyperlinked Public Library,” I was struck by the role of the public library as a place where people can go to access basic necessities (such as internet, faxing, etc.) that some marginalized and low income folks cannot easily access elsewhere. This resonates with me, as this is perhaps the most valuable service that the public library branch that I currently work at offers. We routinely assist people with activities on the public computers that might have a huge effect on the quality of their lives. Whether it’s job-seeking, filing income taxes, applying for low income housing, or whatever else the case might be, there is clearly a need for computer and other technology access and assistance in this particular community.
According to this article, “ a majority of patrons who use the library’s internet and computers lack home internet access.” Imagine trying to take care of normal life administration without internet access at home. Some of this business can be done using a smart phone (which I think most adults have access to), however, that doesn’t always work, and often forms need to be printed, scanned, etc.
According to the Pew Research Center, “Americans living in lower-income households are… more likely than those living in higher-income households to say that internet access at libraries…are important to them and their families.” In my previous library job, I worked across town, in a completely different neighborhood (demographically, economically, etc.) than where I work now. I did not understand just how necessary this access (to the internet and to technology) could be to some members of the community until I started working in a low-income community. I consider it to be a vitally important service, which if I am honest, makes me feel like we are doing something positive for the community in a way that I don’t remember feeling when I worked on the more affluent side of town.
- Reflection Blog 2: Community and Inclusion
- Emerging Technology Planning: Teen Podcasts at the Library