So just this morning, I was talking to some people on the bus after hearing about how they need to go to the library to have internet access to fill out job applications. Some of their comments really captured the essence of the divide issues we have discussing all semester. One person is having a hard time negotiating the various websites and forms necessary to find a job through an employment agency, which is a very good way to get a job these days. This will be his third attempt at submitting his application. Once submitted, he will have wait for an email, meaning more trips to the library to check. The agencies will not phone until after everything is set up online and via email. Another person knows how to fill out forms and navigate the internet, but does not have access at home because it is too expensive. She has access for a few months at a time, under a promotional pricing program, but then cancels, waits and sets it up again under new promotional pricing. She can only get one provider (Charter) and wants to go back to school, but is afraid of falling behind with several online courses she would have to take. Another person, a father, pays his internet bill every month with a credit card so that his children have access for school. So, on top of $50/month, he is accumulating interest and debt.
In just a short conversation with three people, I heard about the digital divide via education, access, and economics. This also addresses the changing nature of public libraries and the roles of librarians as tech support. This re-affirmed my belief that the divides are still active and relevant to many people. Two of the people believed that things could change through public funding, education, and support, but that is would take time. Then after speaking with them, I found this. There is a motion to only post legal notices online, rather than in newspapers.