The Digital Divide Is Real: What Libraries Are Doing about It

Many people still struggle to find reliable access to essential resources and technology in this increasingly digital world. Public libraries help bridge the gap!

Public libraries are stepping up to promote digital equity in their communities.

Though the core mission of the library has always been to unite the community through free access to literature and information, its methods are constantly changing to fit the times. As certain societal challenges crop up, the library adapts, evolving as needed to better help the community it serves. The latest of these challenges is the digital divide, which greatly affects the lives of everyday citizens, as well as their access to important and useful information. So, what is the digital divide, and what are libraries doing about it?


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What Is the Digital Divide?

The digital divide is best described as unequal access to technology in certain socioeconomic clusters. This phenomenon has been observed in a number of communities, so it’s by no means an isolated issue, with an especially pronounced impact in more rural communities. At the end of the day, a stable high-speed internet connection, though considered essential by many, is too expensive for countless people to afford, and in an increasingly digital day and age, that poses a significant problem.

The more society goes digital, the harder it is for lower-income households, families, and communities to access information that would otherwise be quick and easy to find. As libraries are committed to providing equal access to information for people of all backgrounds and socioeconomic classes, the rise of the digital divide has prompted them to step in and help. So, what solutions are they offering?


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What Are Libraries Doing about It?

In response to the digital divide, libraries have begun to offer up a variety of solutions to help combat the issue, the most notable of which has been providing free access to technology, high-speed internet access, and essential web resources. While many families have trouble affording a PC or internet access of their own, it’s a much simpler matter to pay the library a visit and use the free computers there instead. Though not as convenient as a personal device, it’s an excellent solution for these low-income families and gives them access to the resources they need to get back on their feet.

In addition, certain well-funded libraries will even rent out laptops to their visitors, offering the convenience of a home device absolutely free of charge, giving them far more opportunities in this digital age than they would have otherwise. Though these services are only on a community level rather than a national effort, the difference they make toward closing the digital divide is critical in this day and age.

If you’d like to learn more about how libraries are helping communities and how you can help them in return, visit us at EveryLibrary today!



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