The digital divide is a complex issue. Many Americans do not have access to the internet. Some people have access but the access is not adequate for the user’s needs. Some people have access but they are not “web literate.”
The internet is increasingly being used for all kinds of government programs, from food stamps to unemployment. How does a person with no access to the internet apply for these programs? What will happen to these people as technology and its use advance without them? The smaller the gap in the divide, the harder it is to reach those left behind.
As librarians, it is crucial to be aware of this issue. We can work on community outreach and support for people who are not web literate, as well as those who need to use the library for web access. This issue is not going to go away, and librarians will be at the front lines trying to provide for those on the other end of the divide.
Check out this infographic from Mashable and think about what we can do to bridge the divide.