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Challenges for Libraries in the Information Age

Copyright © 2012. 8 pages.
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DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-771-5.ch007
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MLA

Gould, Elizabeth and Ricardo Gomez. "Challenges for Libraries in the Information Age." Libraries, Telecentres, Cybercafes and Public Access to ICT: International Comparisons. IGI Global, 2012. 65-72. Web. 29 Aug. 2014. doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-771-5.ch007

APA

Gould, E., & Gomez, R. (2012). Challenges for Libraries in the Information Age. In R. Gomez (Ed.), Libraries, Telecentres, Cybercafes and Public Access to ICT: International Comparisons (pp. 65-72). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference. doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-771-5.ch007

Chicago

Gould, Elizabeth and Ricardo Gomez. "Challenges for Libraries in the Information Age." In Libraries, Telecentres, Cybercafes and Public Access to ICT: International Comparisons, ed. Ricardo Gomez, 65-72 (2012), accessed August 29, 2014. doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-771-5.ch007

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Abstract

Libraries play a central role as venues that offer public access to information. Increasingly, libraries in developing countries are offering access to computers and the Internet, as well as to books and other types of information services and resources. Given the relatively scant literature on public access to ICT in libraries in many countries, we explore in this chapter the specific challenges libraries face in the countries we studied in the Landscape Study. How are public libraries serving the information needs of marginalized communities in developing countries? How is access to new information and communication technologies (ICT) changing the landscape of public access to information? How can libraries better collaborate with other types of venues (such as telecenters and cybercafés) that offer public access to computers and the Internet? These are some of the questions that we seek to answer in this chapter.
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Introduction

Libraries play a central role in offering public access to information. Increasingly, libraries in developing countries are providing access to computers and the Internet, as well as to books and other types of information services and resources. Due to limited literature on public access to ICT in libraries in many countries, in this chapter we explore particular challenges face by libraries in the countries we studied. In ths chapter, we look at the following questions: How are public libraries serving the information needs of marginalized communities in developing countries? How is access to new information and communication technologies (ICT) changing the landscape of public access to information? How can libraries more effectively collaborate with other types of venues (such as telecenters and cybercafés) that offer public access to computers and the Internet?

There are many factors that contribute to the social appropriation of information (the ability to utilize information in ways that can help improve a person’s position in society) and how it might be used to improve one’s quality of life. How information is used, and how it helps to improve one’s life, must be seen through the perspective of the user. Services, resources, and affordability are important but small parts of the picture. Capacity must also be considered, which refers to the level at which the staff and users can utilize the resources, and whether this is meeting the user’s information needs. This approach incorporates how the user perceives the information or ICT environment, its utilization, and applicability.

A great number of resources and time have been invested in ICT in developing countries. The past ten years have provided success stories in terms of economic data, such as GDP, growth and reforms in the telecommunications sector, network and broadband connections, telephone subscribers, and productivity (World Bank, 2008), but questions remain about the attribution of this success to ICTs. Looking solely at economic figures ignores important social implications that are much more difficult to measure.

David Tyckoson (Director of public services at California State University in Fresno) proposes a way to look at how libraries can converge with user needs in order to improve the perception of libraries (2008). Library users desire three things from their information venues: information, entertainment, and socialization. Access to information is the traditional use of a library, while libraries providing entertainment and socialization opportunities are relatively new phenomena. ICTs provide important tools for satisfying these needs. Socializing might include book clubs, or access to Facebook or Internet gaming sites. Entertainment might include media centers, scrapbooking, or simple computer usage. How do libraries accommodate these needs? As we found in our research, public libraries around the world are struggling with traditional notions of library services that regard entertainment and socializing as inappropriate behaviors for users. We also found that the majority of users of public access venues are looking for precisely these kinds of services, which presents a double challenge to libraries in developing countries: How they can include non-traditional library roles while embracing new opportunities that ICTs have to offer.

This chapter presents aggregated data across all countries, giving special attention to commonalities among them. We discuss three key challenges facing libraries as they revisit their public service mandate and embrace the information age. These challenges are interrelated. We describe them one by one and conclude with a set of recommendations to help libraries capitalize on the new opportunities presented to them:

  • Perceptions matter: The perceptions of users and governments shape the actual uses of library services

  • Users matter: This study helps inform a more accurate understanding of who libraries actually serve

  • Power and money matter: Government prioritization in the allocation of resources makes a difference in the success of libraries as public information venues

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Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Preface
Ricardo Gomez
Chapter 1
Melody Clark, Ricardo Gomez
In order to understand the implications of this study, it is important to understand the context in which it was conducted. Consequently, this book... Sample PDF
Libraries, Telecenters and Cybercafés: A Comparison of Different Types of Public Access Venues
$37.50
Chapter 2
Ricardo Gomez, Kemly Camacho
Who are the customers of public access venues, where do they come from, and what are their needs? In order to better understand the situation –... Sample PDF
Who Uses Public Access Venues?
$37.50
Chapter 3
Elizabeth Gould, Ricardo Gomez
Building capacity for collecting content and enabling access to information by community members means training staff as well building their digital... Sample PDF
Infomediaries and Community Engagement are Key
$37.50
Chapter 4
Ricardo Gomez, Elizabeth Gould
In this study, the authors found that trust is a key factor that drives people to actually make use of ICT in public access venues. Several factors... Sample PDF
Perceptions of Trust: Safety, Credibility, and “Cool”
$37.50
Chapter 5
Melody Clark, Ricardo Gomez
To help frame their findings and discussion, the authors begin with a review of the existing published literature on user fees and other barriers to... Sample PDF
“Free” Service or “Good” Service: What Attracts Users To Public Access Computing Venues?
$37.50
Chapter 6
Allison Terry, Ricardo Gomez
Studies show that due to systemic gender biases in the use of and access to ICTs and their applications, as well as socio-cultural norms that... Sample PDF
Gender and Public Access ICT
$37.50
Chapter 7
Elizabeth Gould, Ricardo Gomez
Libraries play a central role as venues that offer public access to information. Increasingly, libraries in developing countries are offering access... Sample PDF
Challenges for Libraries in the Information Age
$37.50
Chapter 8
Elizabeth Gould, Ricardo Gomez, Kemly Camacho
User information needs vary by geographic location as well as by economic and social standing, among other factors. These factors drive the format... Sample PDF
How do Public Access Venues Meet Information Needs in Underserved Communities?
$37.50
Chapter 9
Ricardo Gomez
Throughout this book, we have detailed the profile of a public access venue user, discussed the role of venue staff in public access venues... Sample PDF
Success Factors for Public Access Computing: Beyond Anecdotes of Success
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Chapter 10
Ricardo Gomez, Kemly Camacho, Elizabeth Gould
This chapter describes how the global Landscape Study was designed and carried out. The Landscape Study informs all the findings and results... Sample PDF
Behind the Scenes: Research Methodology and Analytical Framework
$37.50
Chapter 11
Adrián Rozengardt, Susana Finquelievich
Public Access ICT in Argentina
$37.50
Chapter 12
Marta Voelcker, Gabriel Novais
Public Access ICT in Brazil
$37.50
Chapter 13
Adriana Sánchez, Kemly Camacho
Public Access ICT in Costa Rica
$37.50
Chapter 14
Luis Fernando Barón, Mónica Valdés
Public Access ICT in Colombia
$37.50
Chapter 15
Francia Alfaro, José Pablo Molina, Kemly Camacho
Public Access ICT in Dominican Republic
$37.50
Chapter 16
Katia Sotomayor, Juan Fernando Bossio
Public Access ICT in Ecuador
$37.50
Chapter 17
Melissa Arias, Kemly Camacho
Public Access ICT in Honduras
$37.50
Chapter 18
Public Access ICT in Peru  (pages 228-248)
Juan Fernando Bossio, Katia Sotomayor, Erick Iriarte
Public Access ICT in Peru
$37.50
Chapter 19
Ananya Raihan
Public Access ICT in Bangladesh
$37.50
Chapter 20
Rohit Kumar Nepali, Bibhusan Bista
Public Access ICT in Nepal
$37.50
Chapter 21
IDEACORP, Maria Juanita R. Macapagal, Mina Lyn C. Peralta
Public Access ICT in Philippines
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Chapter 22
Ibrahim Kushchu
Public Access ICT in Malaysia
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Chapter 23
Ibrahim Kushchu
Public Access ICT in Indonesia
$37.50
Chapter 24
Andrew P. Beklemishev
Public Access ICT in Kazakhstan
$37.50
Chapter 25
Tracey Naughton, Lkhagvasuren Ariunaa
Public Access ICT in Kyrgyzstan
$37.50
Chapter 26
Tracey Naughton, Ondine Ullman
Public Access ICT in Mongolia
$37.50
Chapter 27
UNKNOWN UNKNOWN
Public Access ICT in Moldova
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Chapter 28
UNKNOWN UNKNOWN
Public Access ICT in Georgia
$37.50
Chapter 29
Leelangi Wanasundera
Public Access ICT in Sri Lanka
$37.50
Chapter 30
Tina James, Alan Finlay, Michael Jensen, Mark Neville, Rasagee Pillay
Public Access ICT in South Africa
$37.50
Chapter 31
Tina James, Milton Louw
Public Access ICT in Namibia
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Chapter 32
Ndaula Sulah
Public Access ICT in Uganda
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Chapter 33
Yahia Bakelli
Public Access ICT in Algeria
$37.50
Chapter 34
Nayer Wanas
Public Access ICT in Egypt
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Chapter 35
Ibrahim Kushchu
Public Access ICT in Turkey
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