[Libs-Or] INFORMATION: The silent dilemma of the digital divide

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Fri May 9 14:54:17 PDT 2014


The silent dilemma of the digital divide
Posted on May 9,
Wright <http://www.districtdispatch.org/author/jazzy/> — No Comments

On Tuesday, May 6, 2014, education, government, technology and library
experts gathered for “Responding to the Second Digital Divide,” a press
briefing that explored the ways that libraries provide Internet access and
technology training to their communities. Panelists detailed effective
tactics to sustain and improve Internet accessibility in libraries and
discussed future directions for public access to information.

[Responding to the Second Digital Divide - John B. Horrigan,

The event coincided with the release of data showing that the digital
divide is expanding, affecting far more than the disconnected—according to
a report, one-fifth of people with advanced online access have insufficient
levels of digital skills.

Panelists included Clarence Anthony, executive director of the National
League of Cities; John B. Horrigan, communications and technology policy
consultant and author of “The Essentials of Connectivity” report; Richard
Reyes-Gavilan, executive director of the District of Columbia Public
Library, and former chief librarian of the Brooklyn Public Library; and
Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association.

“If the research for the digital skills divide has been around for years,
why is there a renewed focus?” said Reyes-Gavilan. “I’d argue that it’s
back on our radar because of this problem I’d like to call digital
exclusivity. The world has lost its patience with those who cannot navigate
the online world. And because those folks who cannot navigate the online
world are typically uneducated, poor, or otherwise vulnerable, to many this
group is really easy to overlook.”

Stripling discussed what she called the “silent dilemma” that many K-12
students face as they struggle to find both Internet access and reliable
sources of information online. In her speech, Stripling highlighted the
ways that school libraries provide technology resources and teach students
to be digitally literate. Read Stripling’s

“Let us all imagine for one moment what it is like to be a student in
today’s 21st-century learning environment,” said Stripling. “You, like a
large percentage of students, attend a school where teachers expect you to
know how to find accurate information online and have the technology skills
needed to navigate online collaborative platforms, such as GoogleDocs and
Blackboard. Where would you go for help with computer-based homework
assignments? And how do you produce quality homework if you do not know how
to properly research information available on the Internet?”

Government leader Anthony recommended that libraries become more proactive
in marketing the value of their services to their communities.

“Libraries have always been a trusted center of lifelong learning in cities
throughout America,” said Anthony. “And we’ve taken libraries for granted
in a lot of ways because we’ve not told the many stories about the impact
of libraries to the community.”

Read more about the press briefing in *American Libraries*


*Diedre Conkling*

*Lincoln County Library DistrictP.O. Box 2027Newport, OR 97365Phone & Fax:
541-265-3066Work email**:
**diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org*<diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org>
*Home email: **diedre08 at gmail.com* <diedre08 at gmail.com>

 “If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change
your attitude.”―Maya Angelou
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