Public Internet Access & Use in Vietnam

In Vietnam, significant investments have been made in providing public access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) to wider segments of the population in the country. These investments have been made in public libraries, and where libraries do not exist, particularly in rural and remote areas, in cultural post offices (CPOs) – institutions that provide library-like services. The primary objective of this research is to understand the role of library-like institutions in the provision of public access to ICTs. Through interviews, surveys, and observations, this research aims to understand how both libraries and CPOs work by identifying operational, staff, and service characteristics of each venue type in order to capture the potential influence of these variables on the functioning, sustainability, usage, and outcomes of CPOs and libraries.

In addition, the project will explore the characteristics of both library and CPO users and non-users, those people that either use ICTs elsewhere or do not use ICTs at all. The study will identify if there are specific populations that are excluded from ICT use at libraries and CPOs, and if such groups exist, outline the reasons for exclusion. Taking the research one step further, this project will explore research findings through another lens, describing the implications of the findings on program performance and venue sustainability.

Library-like institutions constitute a very important channel for public access delivery in many countries, particularly in countries and areas where libraries are less prevalent. Identifying how they work and exploring the characteristics of the venues, users, and staff will further inform future ICT access provisions, policies, and practices.

This research is being funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.