Free library internet closing the digital divide
Mon, 07 Feb 2011 10:45p.m.
By Jesse Peach
The National Library led initiative to provide free internet access in all libraries across the country has found overwhelming support from the people it was designed to help.
According to an independent review, nearly half who use the Wi-Fi service have no access to it otherwise, and the initiative is closing the so called "digital divide".
Ruth Akanoa lives in Papakura, south of Auckland, and works as a cleaner at the local school.
She doesn't have the internet at home but at her local library she can use it for free.
“It helps me a heck of a lot,” she says. “I can come into the library and catch up with my email and my family and friends.”
A new survey's found people like Ms Akanoa – who have no internet access – make up 42 percent of users.
The survey also found 40 percent of users said they would looked for work using the library Wi-Fi,
The same number had used it to develop computer skills.
The provider – Aotearoa People's Network Kaharoha – says the results are encouraging as their aim is to provide equal access to the internet.
“Regardless of where they live or their social or economic situation,” says Sue Sutherland, a National Librarian.
Ms Akanoa agrees with the findings; that free internet at the library is an essential service that brings New Zealanders closer together.
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14/02/2011 1:33:30 p.m.
Great story - thanks TV3.
8/02/2011 5:30:16 p.m.
Rion Bennet wrote:
In Nelson and Dunedin the system has been an economic disaster. Tourist Internet businesses have collapsed under direct competition, locals can't get on computers during peak tourist season. WiFi is out of control, tourists sitting on the floor and yaking loudly on skype.
Silence an attribute for learning, study and reading has disappeared.
The Library is now a social networking arcade for tourists funded by NZ taxpayers.
Our data charges are 4 times higher than the developed world, and we borrow 300 million bucks a week to keep us afloat. yet we can afford to give free internet to tourists!!! and close down local business and make library card holders wait in queues upto 3 hours of more.
The Library refuses to enact a library card system for use??? which would benefit the community. All visitors are welcome to buy a temporary library card. This is a weapon to attack businesses, destroy learning and put us second to tourists.
The whole thing stinks, its a huge calamity.
8/02/2011 9:33:49 a.m.
I think this is more a result of the National Library's (and libraries in general) vision and commitment to free access to information than telecom!
7/02/2011 11:48:21 p.m.
Internet technogly has jumped in leaps and bounds in nz since we privatized Telecom, thanks to labour listening to the early begins of the Act party.
yes yes its been wonderful...for them
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