New challenges for libraries in the information age: A comparative study of ICT in public libraries in 25 countries

Abstract

This paper — drawn from the larger ‘Landscape Study,’ the first of its kind to look across 25 developing countries to compare how public access venues, including libraries, telecenters and cybercafés, are being used — looks at how public perceptions of libraries in these countries affect the way they are used as public access venues for information and communication technologies (ICT). When compared to other public access venues, public libraries are not perceived as important or useful places to get information, based on users’ perceptions of access to current information and technology, and to associated technology training and support. Furthermore, libraries tend not to be prioritized by government agencies for financial and policy support. This paper is part of a study conducted by the University of Washington’s Technology & Social Change group (TASCHA), carried out in association with local research partners in 25 developing countries around the globe. The goal of the study is to identify how people are satisfying their information needs through public access venues, with the intent of informing policy makers and funders, and of offering new insight into research that crosses between the disciplines of library and information science and information technologies for development. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Community Informatics Conference CIRN, 2009, Prato, Italy.

Recommended Citation

Gould, E., & Gomez, R. (2010). New challenges for libraries in the information age: A comparative study of ICT in public libraries in 25 countries. Information Development, 26(2), 166-176.