2.5 Million People Helped Online in Libraries in Past 18 Months
The Society of Chief Librarians announces that it has exceeded its target by five times as key partner in Government's RaceOnline2012.
Public library staff and volunteers in the UK have helped more than
2.5 million people to go online in the past 18 months. Most of these
people were completely new internet users, and some were tentative
users who lacked confidence in their skills.
In September 2010 the Society of Chief Librarians pledged to get
500,000 people online by the end of 2012 as part of the Government’s
RaceOnline 2012, led by UK Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox.
SCL President Nicky Parker said: “We have exceeded our target by five
times and it is still early in 2012. This is thanks to the thousands
of dedicated library staff and volunteers who are digital
champions and through whom this achievement has been possible.”
Nearly 30% of households in the UK do not have access to the internet
at home and for many people the local library is an essential link for
access to online resources. Access to the internet is provided free of
charge in more than 90% of libraries in the UK.
Martha Lane Fox, UK’s digital champion, said: “Libraries are crucial to
the success of Go ON UK’s objectives. The thousands of digital champions
in libraries and millions of new internet users are to be commended.”
In Walsall in the West Midlands Mrs. Brooks, who lives alone and far
from family, took part in a library course to help her confidently use
the internet. After an eight-week course she could shop for food
online and order things she could not find locally. She now uses Skype
and email to keep in touch with her family, including her
granddaughter who is at university. Before help from the library, Mrs
Brooks only used her laptop, bought for her by friends, to play
solitaire. For the millions of people helped online at public libraries, these
new skills are changing their lives for the better.
Libraries will continue to reach out to people without access to computers at home
and will play a key role in ensuring that individuals and communities are
poised to make the most of the Government’s super-fast broadband rollout
across the UK, especially in isolated communities.
Public libraries work closely with DirectGov, NHS Choices and the
Adult Careers Service to ensure that citizens can confidently access
health, employment and benefits information they need as well as pay
for their driving license, passport or parking permit.