Internet in Public Libraries

As the internet era began in the early 1990’s (less than 20 years ago, wow) there was a growing concern about how many people would be able to afford to be a part of this new digital world. Hence, in 1996 President Clinton launched the “KickStart Initiative” which was a campaign designed to bring the internet to America’s most established institutuions, namely public schools and public libraries. This program has provided America with a great start to making sure we do not create a “digital division” amongst our nation.

However, as technology continues to change and grow it is important that we grow along with it. Many of our public libraries do not have the funding to have the most up to date computers or the fastest servers which can create a number of issues for the libraries as well as the people who need to use these computers. Many libraries are limited on how many computers they have and the ones they do have take a great deal of time for someone to complete what they need to do. Most libraries have time limits of 30 or 60 minutes to try to alleviate some of the problems. However, this does not allow enough time to say build a resume online, research a project, or complete an online college exam.

Last week the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced they would be contributing $7 million to Connected Nation, and others, to help seven states improve their internet service and speed in hopes they can “ensure that all people have the chance to connect to information, education, and economic opportunity”. Please click the links below to learn more about public libraries in these states: (Indicates how many public libraries in each state)
Arkansas (213)
California (1132)
Kansas (379)
Texas (855)
Virginia (374)
Massachusetts (490)
New York (1094)