The original home of the blog known as 802 Online

Friday, February 25, 2005

Why should libraries offer internet access, anyway?

I came across this in a Feb. 21 post on Jessamyn West's blog. West appeared in that library story I wrote. This doesn't have much to do with Williston's new wi-fi, but she makes an interesting point that I somehow overlooked. I would have linked to her post, by the way, but her permalinks thingy isn't working for me. So here's an excerpt.

From Jessamyn West's
As of mid-2003 17% of Vermont households had broadband. I'm sure that number has shot up, but how high? I've been reading through the Vermont Telecommunications Plan from the end of 2004, and it's fascinating stuff. 66% of Vermonters surveyed in late 2003, early 2004 had Internet access at home. Of them, roughly 25% use cable or DSL with the rest on dial-up, WebTV or other workarounds.. So... a little quick math... and we've got about 15% of Vermonters who have cable Internet or DSL. I'm sure this number has also increased, but how high? That's about 100,000 people more or less. Want to know why it isn't higher? Check out these two graphs I pulled from the report, paraphrased "Why I haven't used the Internet recently" and "Why we're not getting faster Internet at work" What does a library, or a librarian do about this?

Bottom line: nearly half of all Vermonters who are not online do not have access to computers. And not surprisingly, another 20% of those abstainers say they're not online because they just plain don't like computers.
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