What’s Wireless Got to Do With the Digital Divide?

Yesterday the Pew Internet in American Life project released a report on wireless Internet use. When I first heard about the report I didn’t think very broadly about what the data might have to say about the impact of access for teens (and for libraries for that matter). But, when I read several news reports that highlighted findings that wireless access, particularly on mobile devices, is serving to lessen the digital divide I started thinking about teens. While not everyone has what some might consider traditional internet access at home – a wired or wireless connection that is used with a laptop or desktop – that doesn’t mean that the Internet isn’t available in the home. People are accessing the Internet with laptops and desktops and they are using game consoles and handheld devices for their access.

If outside of the school teens use handheld devices and gaming consoles to access the Internet, we need to look at how our resources are provided to the age group. We need to make sure to provide access to programs and services in ways that work well for someone using an Internet enabled device. For example: Continue reading

On-line Texting Sites

At ALA’s Mid-Winter Conference in January a teen services librarian asked members of the Teen Tech Week committee if we could recommend any Internet sites that allow users to send text messages to cell phones. The teens at her library had asked if they could receive event reminders via text messages sent to their cell phones rather than by standard e-mail. She was trying to find a way to accommodate their request that would be inexpensive and not too labor intensive. Since this was not the first time this question had been posed to members of the committee, I volunteered to do some research and see what’s out there. Continue reading