University Libraries.

Crossing the Digital Divide

The digital divide: people being left behind by the advance of technology, usually due to lack of knowledge about how to use it, or lack of access to it. The term has been floating around a lot and more and more attention is being paid to it in the media and in the academy. The internet, especially, is entering more and more aspects of our everyday lives, from socializing, to media consumption, to work, school, and even interacting with the government. The internet is so important to daily life these days that it is nearly impossible to live without it. Yet around half of Americans living in poverty don’t have reliable access to the internet. Without internet access it can be difficult to find a job, do homework, apply for college, or get certain government benefits. The cost of computers and reliable internet access is often too high. The lucky ones who were able to afford a laptop can use public wifi hotspots in local businesses, if they are available, but those without are usually out of luck. Many rely on their public libraries for internet access, but the demand is far greater than most of them can meet. Lack of home internet access also impacts many students right here at SUNY Albany. Because it is such an important topic, the Dewey Library is bringing you a list of resources on the subject.  


Banks, Adam J. (2006). Race, rhetoric, and technology: Searching for higher ground. Mahwan, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. University Library / E 185.86 B264 2006

Margolis, Jane (2008). Stuck in the shallow end: Education, race, and computing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Science Library / QA 76.27 M347 2008

West, Jessamyn (2011). Without a net: Librarians bridging the digital divide. Santa Barbra, CA: Libraries Unlimited. Dewey Library / Z 674.75 I58 W47 2011

Journal Articles and Online Resources:

Blackburn, B., Suarez, J. (2015). This is what it’s like to be one of the 75 million Americans living without internet access. Fusion. Accessed at:

Jaeger, P. T., Bertot, J. C., Thompson, K. M., Katz, S. M., & DeCoster, E. J. (2012). The intersection of public policy and public access: Digital divides, digital literacy, digital inclusion, and public libraries. Public Library Quarterly, 31(1), 1-20. doi:10.1080/01616846.2012.654728

Kasperkevic, J. (2014). Connection failed: Internet still a luxury for many Americans. The Guardian.

Kruger, L. A. (2013). Broadband internet access and the digital divide: Federal access programs. Journal Of Current Issues In Media & Telecommunications, 5(4), 303.

United States Census Bureau. Computer and internet use.

Weiss, R. J. (2012). Libraries and the digital divide. Journal Of The Library Administration & Management Section, 8(2), 25-47.




Social Work Abstracts

As many reading this should know, the UAlbany campuses offer free wifi to students and the libraries have PCs . The uptown libraries also allow patrons who are unaffiliated with the university to log onto these computers on a guest account.

If you have questions or want more information on this topic, please stop in to visit or contact the reference desk at or (518) 442-3691.

Blog post created by Alex Hoag

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