For many of us, the public library will always be synonymous with books.
The books drew us to the library in the first place, helped us discover new worlds — both real and imaginary — beyond our day-to-day experiences.
Libraries continue to embody that same spirit of search and discovery, but in a manner that has been transformed as dramatically as the way we generate, share and consume information. They make this new digital era available to all Americans.
In Chicago, for example, an innovative space at the main public library called YOUmedia lets any teen with a city library card have in-house access to computers plus video and audio recording equipment to create their own content with the help of a mentor. At another YOUmedia space in Miami, workshops help teens think critically and creatively about their lives, by teaching them to publish an autobiographical digital story, or to visualize their favorite books. In a world where information is increasingly available, learning to analyze it, create it and make it your own is a valued skill.
For many teens, the library may be the only place they can get online and be connected to the digital world. They are in good company. One-third of Americans — mostly older, rural and/or poor — lack broadband access at home and can’t participate fully in contemporary life, much less in the $8 trillion global Internet-enabled economy.
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.