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John Bertot, Ph.D.: The Role of Public Libraries in Building Digitally Inclusive Communities: Technologies, Policy, and Issues


The ubiquitous nature of the Internet and accompanying services and technologies now makes equitable access to and participation in the online environment essential for success in education, employment, finance, health and wellness, civic engagement, and more. Digital inclusion brings together high-speed Internet access, information and communication technologies, and digital literacy in ways that provide opportunities for individuals and communities to succeed in the digital environment. More specifically, digital inclusion means that individuals are aware of, understand, and can use  information and communication technologies (ICTs); have equitable and affordable access to broadband, ICTs, and digital content; and can take advantage of the educational and socio-economic l opportunities available through ICTs. As community-based digital hubs, public libraries are critical community assets that facilitate the development and sustainability of digitally inclusive communities through the provision of free access to public access technologies, digital content, digital literacy services and instruction, and programs around key community need areas such as health and wellness, education, employment and workforce development, and civic engagement. This talk focuses on the roles and issues associated with the building of digitally inclusive communities by public libraries.

About John Carlo Bertot

John Bertot is Professor and co-director of the Information Policy & Access Center (iPAC) in the University of Maryland College Park iSchool. He also serves as director of the MLS program, a position he began in July 2011.

John joined the iSchool faculty in August 2008. He received his Ph.D. from the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. His research spans information and telecommunications policy, e-government, government agency technology planning and evaluation, and library planning and evaluation. He is President of the Digital Government Society of North America (DGSNA), serves as chair of the International Standards Organization’s (ISO) Library Performance Indicator (ISO 11620) working group, and serves as a member ISO Library Statistics (ISO 2789) working group. John has previously served as Chair of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Library Research Round Table, and currently serves on the ALA Committee on Research and Statistics and E-government Services Subcommittee. In addition, John is Editor of Government Information Quarterly and co-Editor of The Library Quarterly. Over the years, John has received funding for his research from the National Science Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Government Accountability Office, the American Library Association, and the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.