Friday, May 11, 2012

Chuck McClure: "Score 1 (or more) for the Digital Divide and 0 for Florida public libraries"

Dr. Charles R. McClure
Another excellent response to Gov. Scott's veto of Multitype Library Cooperative (MLC) funding from Dr. Charles R. McClure, Director at the FSU Information Institute, this one on the Libraries Connect Communities blog of American Library Association.

Dr. McClure focuses on the veto's negative impact on the collaborative efforts of Florida libraries to help customers, especially in rural counties, to get across the digital divide—this in a time when all of the state's own social services, including unemployment assistance, are now only available online.
We have discussed the digital divide implications between rural and urban/suburban settings noting how rural public libraries struggle to provide adequate broadband and information technology (IT) support. The Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study (PLFTAS) data demonstrate this struggle. Recent events in Florida suggest that strategies to reduce the rural digital divide – or at least the role that libraries can play in reducing that divide – will remain difficult....

While the $1.5 million veto may not sound like much money, the pain likely will be felt disproportionately in rural areas since many of the rural libraries depend on their MLC for a range of IT access, training, and support. As part of this blog, I interviewed a number of Florida public librarians for their assessment of the veto on the digital divide in Florida.
Please read and share the whole blog post.


Karen Packard Rhodes said...

This is the sort of thing that is convincing me that the right wing is engaging in a conspiracy to disenfranchise, disengage, and disable the middle and lower classes. They need to be careful: Create a class of people with nothing to lose, and those who created that class will lose everything.

Mike Shell said...

A friend of mine emailed the following comment:

"Mike, until this veto, it was hard to find Florida MLCs when using search engines, and now that everyone's blogging and writing about it, there's a vast increase in MLC awareness.

"I'm pondering this funny paradox, and somehow I'm thinking about what Gore Vidal said upon hearing of the death of Truman Capote: '"Good career move'."

Interesting perspective.