Technology is advancing in leaps and bounds. Dictionaries and journals are being published online while slowly fading from the print world. Need to know a random fact? Look it up on Wikipedia. Need directions? Select from a handful of online sites that will plot your course and give you detailed instructions and road conditions. The online world provides multiple options and increasingly varied resources. It’s fantastic. Unless, of course, you can’t get to it.
As more information appears online, and sometimes only available online, a divide grows between those who can access this information and those who can’t. Some people simply don’t have the resources to procure an electronic device that can connect to the internet not to mention affording the actually connection. Others may have the resources but lack the skill set and ability utilize the vast smorgasbord of online data. As online information often updates more frequently and more and more journals and other information go online rather than in print the concern over a widening divide between those with and without online access is a valid point.
Libraries are attempting to help bridge that gap by providing computers and internet access. Libraries have steadily increased the number of computers available to the public. Some of these terminals can only be used to search the library catalog or library databases, but others are available to the public for whatever uses they wish to accomplish. Many libraries also provide computer courses ranging from basic instructions on keyboards and using a mouse, to more advanced classes on specific programs such as Excel. As more information appears online it is important to strive for equal access for everyone by providing venues and equipment.