geek out don't freak out the digital divide & the library's mission

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  • Geek Outdon't freak outthe Digital Divide & the Library's Mission

  • my (former) librarypopulation 900

  • merun MetaFilterlifeguardteach basic computer classeshelp me buy a laptop stuffjust finished a book!this sort of thingso-called "expert"

  • my homeruralvery little broadbandnice peoplestrong library supportfar from everything including internetnice place

  • what's wrong with dial-up?

  • who is not online?

  • why no internet?19% of dial-up users said nothing would convince them to get broadband. 14% of dial-up users (24% in rural America) say that broadband service would have to become available where they (27%) of adult Americans are not internet usersborn with the chip, indeed!

  • why no broadband?Cost.Lack of digital literacy.Broadband not sufficiently relevant for them.Frightened.

  • why are you a nonuser?Waste of time?!

  • not just rural

  • who cares?Please get online, thank you.

  • "71 percent of public libraries provide their communitys only free public access to computers and the Internet"


  • survey says...

  • question actually asked

  • rural, suburban, urban?public, academic, special?

  • academic"Who is the better doctorthe one who can remember more diagnostic tests or the one who is the quickest and most savvy at online searching for the relevant tests?"

  • special/legal"Only a third of newly purchased books are initially bound. 'Well put a barcode on it, put it on the shelf, and see if people use it,' Palfrey explains. 'If they do, and the book starts to wear, then well send it to the bindery.'"

  • public"The Howe Library is pleased to announce it has moved its entire bibliographic catalog and circulation system to Evergreen.... Moving to Evergreen will save considerable taxpayer dollars, primarily in annual service fees and upgrades."

  • networked local

  • thank you!questions?

    As of 2008, 55% of adult Americans had broadband internet connections at home 10% of people have dial-up 25% of low income people dont have bb at home. Half of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 have broadband at home. Some 19% of those 65 and older have home broadband access as of April 2008 that went up to 30% in 2009. dialup is getting more expensive as broadband is getting cheaper.the only people who are getting LESS broadband are the people who cant afford it.interestingly the guy who wrote the report for the FCC is the same one who wrote the report for Pewaccording to the fcc reportFor the first time in my career, we have an administration that is actively using new technologies to try to reach citizens, from the highest level. This is good for us, this makes technology use seem normal. However it's a double edged sword because it makes people who are not connected feel bad, or feel pressured. I really see it like having a driver's license...At the same time, we have our traditional services [and the 27% of offline americans] to provide and support. In the short run, this means that we need to be providing the newspaper at the same time as we're reading/providing a twitter feed. This is not new. This has never been true.So you asked for my crystal ball prognostications. Well let me tell you what other people are talking about lately. The thing about being part of a community is that any one person's opinions are only as useful as other people believing or listening to them. This is important to remember. So let's talk about what we believe.People toss this statistic around a lot. I read this in ALA's State of American Libraries report, for example. They cited an American Libraries article, oddly. Note the boolean here, it is important.That article in AL cited a Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study ....which was citing, I think, this chart. This study is, of course, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I don't know how 67% became 71%This is the question they were actually answeing. I like how FREE is bolded. Do you know if there are any other free computer+internet locations in your service area? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.We've also seen a little bit about how the digital divide is actually GOOD for kids. Where studies correlate poor families who get computers w/ broadband having lower test scores [slightly] than kids in poor families who don't have computers/broadband. This is not true for higher income kids. The real man behind the curtain is parental supervision and the positing that kids w/ computers + broadband + low parental supervision is the problem. The digital divide is great to talk about if you think you know how to fix it.Back to the crystal ball... interesting story about this picture... Waterhouse Crystal ball... My crystal ball is telling me that our role is changing, but you don't need me to tell you that. Here's what I think is happening though. And what's working.Really, I think what we're seeing is NOT the end of print, or the born with the chip beep beep beep stuff, but the fracturing of the identity of libraries. WHICH IS FINE. As libraries shift to serve populations with different needs that can be met more or less electronically, we're going to see them changing. Suburban libraries become more like bookstores. Urban libraries become more like computer centers. Rural libraries continue to be the way they've always been.Academics and people doing scholarship need multiple ways to quickly access reliable information both new and historical. We know the spellchecker model - who is a good speller? The people who know how to use the tools effectively. In publics we find old obits [something hard to do with the Google], in medicine this can mean surveying literature quickly and efficiently. Natural language isn't doing this yet. We are.Collection development policies are flexing to what the patrons and the technology allows.We can use technology to do the things technology is good at, freeing us up to work more one on one with situations that don't scale. Open source tools let us customize options and have ownership oftiny publics? You don't hear much from them because they're not online which is more and more where we're getting our news from. So....We've got a joint responsibility both to meet the rising tide of technological innovation and development as employees and also to help shepherd our patrons who may be having trouble getting there.So this is a "fancy" diagram to explain what i think is going on. Libraries have always been ... well what have they been? Originally they were a shared space for people to get together and interact with content, then the fcus became the content YOU go here to get BOOKS and then the libraries got networked, in all sorts of ways Library 2.0 and also just ILL and the usual "we have internet here" stuff... and we're finding that the thing we have that other people don't have, is our local content. Photos, history books, obits in newspapers, local knowledge, stories about our people.And the internet and DIY culture is giving us ways to get control of our content. DIY bookscanner, made from discarded parts. Lots of steps, but inexpensive and hey free book scans."I think librarians need to get in front of this mob and call it a parade, to actually help shape it."