Internaut!

We need to scrap internet charges in public libraries in Ireland. These are the new membership charges, and have replaced the library book charges, albeit optional. Given how the internet has reached into every area of our lives we need to realise that a free ten minute slot will not meet our needs. There are so many projects out there that we could be working on. One crowd-sourcing project example is duchas.ie which has hundreds of thousands of pages which need to be transcribed. Open up the floodgates. Make users register to use a computer and perhaps have a section for others, for example, tourists. I am completely in favour of retaining library staff and of course hiring more where needed. Letting the machines do the librarians work for us is not the solution or the answer while bandying about the added benefits of extended opening hours. People enrolled in higher education have full access to technology and have cheap student deals for internet. Everybody else pays through the nose. Well at least until the proposed Broadband 2020 comes into play. There is a lot of money to be made online. These are the newly styled books. Don’t let people become technologically illiterate! If there are queues to use the library internet so be it. Introduce card deals for I.T., make people book in advance. Providing free library apps does not go far enough in this day and age. People across the lower socio-economic spheres are being denied internet access simply because they cannot afford it. And like it or not everyone in the internet era has a valuable contribution to make with the right tools and know-how!