How Librarians Can Use Media to Close the Digital Divide

Pisano Simone, L. (2012). eBooks, Libraries and the Digital Divide: Harper Collins, the eBook Industry and the Debate on eBook Lending, Econtent Distribution, DRMs, and Democracy. International Journal Of The Book, 9(2), 69-80.

The title of this article jumped out at me. While I was already aware of the digital divide, I had not really considered how eBooks specifically affect it. I selected this article because the digital divide issue is important, and librarians need to think about how we can still present online materials to children who come from less affluent families. The article goes much more in depth than just eBooks and the digital divide. The author, a librarian herself, discusses how access to eBooks are essential to supporting the open exchange of information and ideas. One thing that affects the access to digital information is the number of eBook platforms. For a single eBook one may buy a Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, or other options. However, one must be able to pay for these devices. This poses a question for libraries. We provide the eBook, but what use is it if patrons can’t afford the device necessary to read it? How much help is the library then?

The resources we looked at this week pose similar questions. Some of the resources were recommendations for how much screen time children should have. However, what of the children who don’t have enough access to technology? I thought the Smart App for Kids site was a wonderful resource, specifically for its Free App Friday feature. This weekly feature isn’t going to immediately fix the digital divide problem, but does its part in closing the gap just a little bit more. The Digital Storytime website also had free apps to share. Librarians need to be aware of the digital divide issue, and of sites like this that do their part. Librarians also need to be aware that, while too much screen time is a problem for many children today, not enough access to technology is an issue for less affluent families.

 

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