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LIS 950: Libraries and community

The purpose of this seminar is to explore an important topic in library and information studies in depth — in all its intertwined historical, cultural, philosophical, and political aspects — through a graduate reading/discussion seminar. The topic varies each time the course is taught; this time around, we will focus on "libraries and community"

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Cybercommunities and Persosn with Disabilities

McCook seems to suggest that libraries need to do more to provide for cybercommunities but does not give any explicit examples. Libraries could provide the computer hardware to make freenets possible. Today that might include wireless freenets but their legal status is questionable. Libraries could provide programs and/or workshops about cybercommunity opportunities.

The role of libraries in relation to cybercommunities seems to be tied up in discussions of the digital divide. Is it simply enough for libraries to provide access to the Internet or must something more proactive be required? The economic of the digital divide might be beyond the control of the library but libraries could help to provide the equipment required for persons with disabilities to access computers and participate with a cybercommunity. Let me finish by talking about persons with disabilities.

Persons with disabilities are mentioned on pages 67, 73, 76, 87, and 95 are not included in the discussions about diversity. I find the omission problematic because there are 49.7 million persons with disabilities according to the US Census compared to 39 million Hispanics or Latinos. In order to make community diversity more encompassing persons with disabilities must be discussed along with other minority groups.

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