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Digital Divide

Update: Broadband Provisions Removed from the Stimulus; Debate not Over Yet

Despite some valiant efforts by librarians and other tech crusaders, money allocated for contributing to America's broadband infrastructure has been removed from the stimulus bill. From Ars Technica: The prospect of an unprecedented federal outlay on broadband deployment, politically unimaginable a...

A Timely Issue of Library Technology Reports

We are extremely excited about the January Issue of Library Technology Reports, “Funding and Budgeting for Library Technology in Today's Economy” by Larra Clark and Denise Davis. With the current economic crisis, librarians are concerned about having the funds to keep up with the rapidly evolving technology needed to serve the needs of twenty-first century patrons. ALA TechSource is responding...

Can Bookmobiles Help Close the Digital Divide?

Long ago, in the twitterless, 1.0 dark age of 2003, I got one of the coolest jobs in the world—I was a bookmobile driver at the Champaign Public Library.  Aside from the obvious perk of getting to drive a huge bus around town, this job really gave me a perspective on how libraries can be a bridge to bring different communities together. To me, the most fulfilling part of the job was knowing that...

Gaps and Bridges, Bridges and Gaps

There are many stories from the 2008 ALA Annual conference in Anaheim, from Google being MIA on the exhibition floor to what happens when a few hundred librarians descend onto Disneyland. But my favorite story from my time in Anaheim starts like this... Cindi Trainor had wrangled myself, David Lee King, and Rachel Vacek out of the Hilton Anaheim in order to shoot a few portraits. We were heading...

Thoughtful Advocates: An ALA TechSource Interview with ILA's Robert Doyle

"If people were better informed about social networking sites and knew and used basic Internet safety tips, the cloud of fear may decline."—Robert Doyle, Executive Director of the Illinois Library Association Last July, I wrote a post about some folks that were trying to scare libraries into dropping their Flickr presence and ban access because they likened Flickr to an amateur porn site. I...

Talking about the Maintain IT Project

Recently, the Maintain IT Project has been mentioned on various electronic-discussion lists and blogs. The Maintain IT Project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is gathering information and success stories about Public Access Computers (PACs) in public libraries. Eventually, the project team plans to compile the stories and make them available to libraries as a...

Have Laptop, Will Learn?

Last Thursday's New York Times contained an article (a no-cost subscription is required) that provides a progress report on the $100 laptop initiative, officially known as One Laptop per Child (OLPC). The project is based at MIT's Media Lab and was first announced in January 2005. Led by Nicholas Negroponte, the OLPC project proclaims its main outcome goal thus: “a unique harmony of form and...