The Information Poor

& the Information Don't Care

The Digital Divide and Rural Libraries

Jessamyn West


Two Populations

1. The information poor. you may be providing their only access to technology and must act like it
2. The information don't care. technology adoption is more a management issue than the money issue that it is often described as


The Digital Divide Contains Multitudes

People don't use computers for many reasons, we have the information poor and the information don't care in Vermont.
informational table     []
source: Vermont Telecommunications plan

Who Are These People?

Yes, that line near the bottom says "never heard of." [informational table]     [] source: Vermont Telecommunications plan

And Where Do They Live?

[] source: Vermont Telecom. plan, Burlington Free Press

And It's Not Just Vermont

[] The Pew Digital Divisions survey splits users into three loose categories: Which category do your staff fall into? Your users? You?

source: Pew Digital Divisions report

What do we know about the "truly disconnected"?


The question was "Do you use the Internet at least occasionally" and "Do you send or receive email at least occasionally?"
source: Pew Digital Divisions report

What else do we know about the "truly disconnected"?


We don't see some of these same division with cell phone usage. Why?
source: Pew Digital Divisions report

A Few Anecdotes

[] Large public libraries in small states, my experience. Who do we have for leaders?
DoL, Microsoft, local wifi initiatives, education folks?

Management v. Money (myths)

[] The tech dilemma is a management issue disguised as a money issue. we're entering the age of multiple right answers. managing smart people "how can I provide you the tools you need to do an awesome job?" What do we think we know?

[more myths]

A Jamesian Genuine Option, New Tools

[] anecdote about jenny and michael's talk "how am I going to find time to do any of this? Plan for... [what if we DO this? what if we DON'T]

Applied to: Public Access Computing


Applied to: Social Software

[] blogs and chat and rss and wikis, but also MySpace, Flickr, del.icio.us, ning, and mashups and FOAF and more...


"I don't know what it will be like to have books from our libraries injected into our culture again, but I'd like to see it"

« credits »

Jessamyn West is the editor of the weblog librarian.net and the co-editor of Revolting Librarians Redux. She works as a community technology mentor with people and libraries in Central Vermont, teaching email to seniors and making tiny websites for tiny libraries. IM her at iamthebestartist.

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