Internet Access and Public Libraries: An Investment in Digital Inclusion and Twenty-First Century Skills

Today, only 35% of the world’s population are connected to the internet. Yet millions of people don’t have the awareness or skills to use the information available online. Despite improved access to technology in many communities, providing guidance on how to find and use information must be a government priority.

Regular, stable, and reliable access to the internet — and help in using it — generates opportunities to create, share, and benefit from new knowledge. In the 21st century, governments must ensure this service exists so that people can improve their lives and accelerate social and economic development.

This brief underscores how libraries are preferred venues for public access to the internet. Governments should incorporate public libraries into national ICT and broadband initiatives, and public library staff should receive training in new technologies so that they can better serve community members and contribute to accelerating development.