The role of public libraries in bridging the digital divide: a Cape Town case study
This research project looked at the role of public libraries in bridging the digital divide which is both a symptom and a cause of social exclusion. Public libraries offer free information services to ordinary citizens by means a wide range of media, including the Internet. But they offer more than just access as their information literacy programmes educate people in the use of the various media. Across the world there are many initiatives employed by public libraries to help bridge the digital divide. The purpose of the case study of one library district was to investigate if and how libraries in Cape Town were taking on this responsibility. The project had two parts: a survey of one district of the city’s libraries and a closer case study of one selected library in the district. The overall findings from both phases of the study were that Public libraries do help to narrow the Digital Divide by providing free internet access to the public. One of the initiatives the Public libraries that were surveyed including Masiphumelele library employed to help narrow the Digital Divide is SmartCape. Not only did Masiphumelele have SmartCape, but it also offered free computer literacy classes to its users.