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As more and more information moves online, Americans without
Internet access are increasingly being left behind. OCLC's recently released infographic, "The Internet Is Important to Everyone"
dramatically highlights these discrepancies.
provides a succinct visual summary of the issue and potential solutions,
Nonprofits and libraries can use the infographic to
help local government and other community leaders understand why increasing
information technology access and use should be a critical community-wide goal. For example, the infographic shows that using the Internet to find a job reduces the
time spent unemployed by 25 percent. However, 59% of lower-income adults don't have
home Internet service.
Thirty percent of Americans do not have high-speed Internet
access at home, according to a recently
released Pew Research Center survey.
That statistic is disturbing enough, but an even starker picture emerges when you dig deeper, as the infographic does:
As you can see, Internet access and usage continue to vary hugely by age,
income, education, and disability status. Those who are younger, wealthier, or
more educated are much more likely to have broadband Internet access in their
homes than those who are older, less affluent, and less educated. In addition,
those living with a disability are much less likely to have Internet access at
home or to use the Internet at all.
Perpetual optimist that I am, my favorite section of the
infographic is this last one, simply titled "We can do better." It
highlights ways that we can all work together to address the problem.
Closing the Internet access and adoption
gap is not something that nonprofits (or libraries or government or the private
sector) can do alone. That means nonprofits, libraries, schools, local
government, and other community leaders need to work together to develop
If you're interested
in building more digitally inclusive communities, share this great resource with your local
government, schools, businesses, and other digital inclusion activists today!
Get inspired with these examples of community-wide efforts
and public-private partnerships:
Images: The Internet Is Important to Everyone was
developed by OCLC and made possible with funding from the Institute of Museum and
Library Services (IMLS)
Ariel Gilbert-Knight is a Senior Content Developer for TechSoup