Libraries – 21st Century Hubs for Digital Inclusion

As renowned California historian and State Librarian Emeritus Kevin Starr has proclaimed, it is time to “reboot California”—literally “restart” all aspects of governance and reform all institutions of government. That includes a transformation of libraries to be 21st Century Hubs for Digital Inclusion—places where the public can use their library card not only to check out a book, but also to access a computer for high-speed navigation of the Internet to retrieve information from the virtual global library.

While prominent librarians throughout California share this vision and many libraries provide computers for public access, they lack adequate resources and sufficient policy support to make this concept a reality. Often there are too few computers in a library for the demand and, thus, the time allowed for each user is limited. Imagine trying to complete a college application in the allotted 15 or 30 minutes at a time to use a public library computer, but that’s the reality faced by students and families who do not have a computer or broadband service at home.