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Libraries addressing the digital divide

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

We all know how important technology has become in our day to day lives, from working to banking, from shopping to keeping in touch. But what about people who are locked out of this world, who don’t have the opportunities, the money or the knowledge to access technology?

Libraries can play a key role in filling this gap and helping people get online who otherwise might not be able to.

PC and Wi-Fi access in libraries gives users the ability to send emails, browse the internet, complete job applications, write CVs, complete schoolwork and homework, apply for benefits – and all for free. Plus, many libraries run training courses and classes to help those unfamiliar with computers so that they can take advantage of this technology. And for those who don’t have a printer at home, printing services in the library offer a convenient and affordable way to print out vital documents.

Libraries are probably the most public facing service helping customers today; they are becoming ever more sophisticated in the services they offer, with laptops and tablets available for more flexible use within the library, and wireless printing enabling printing from a visitor’s own device. And more and more, these are available as self-service so that staff are freed up to deal with more complex enquiries and visitors who need more help and support.

Management information and authentication can be vital tools for libraries to demonstrate how important these services are to their local communities, and how often they are being used. If a library can accurately report on which services in their libraries are being used - including how many visitors accessed PCs, connected to the Wi-Fi, printed documents - it can prove just how critical these services are and how important and beneficial the investment in technology in libraries really is.

We’re proud to support libraries as they address the digital divide, and we are working continuously to develop and improve our products so that library users can access the technology they need.

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