Small Libraries and the Digital Divide

why it matters, a lot

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

[public library photograph]

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     [public library photograph]
source: Vermont Telecommunications plan

Who Are These People?

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

And Where Do They Live?

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

And It's Not Just Vermont

[public library photograph] 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

Management v. Money (myths)

[public library photograph] 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?


It's okay to not learn to use a computer...

[public library photograph] Except for... And if libraries don't step up to the plate, who does?


[public library photograph]
"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.

This presentation was created in HTML using CSS. There was no PowerPoint involved in this presentation except as a nagging bad example. The layout and stylesheet are available to borrow via a share and share alike creative commons license. See source code for details.

slides version | printable version