Public library internet access in areas of deprivation: The case of Glasgow

Gillian Anderson, Jason Whalley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


The Internet plays an increasingly central role in the lives of individuals. It enables individuals to engage in social, economic, leisure and entertainment activities including wider access to information. Due to extensive societal use of the Internet, those without access are clearly disadvantaged. They will lack the necessary information to make decisions, forgo the savings from shopping online and limit their opportunities for social interaction. This paper investigates the role that libraries can play in providing free public Internet access. This role is examined within the context of Glasgow, a large post-industrial city in the United Kingdom where Internet adoption is lower than in comparable cities and where a large proportion of its population face a range of socio-economic hardships. Primary data was collected from library users in three areas of deprivation. Our analysis demonstrates the role that libraries play as the provider of public Internet access. It shows that this role is not without its difficulties – inadequate levels of resources have been provided to fulfill the multiple roles that libraries perform in these communities. Libraries enable users to engage in a wide array of online activities, the range of which reflects both the push of government policies and the pull of innovative services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-537
JournalTelematics and Informatics
Issue number3
Early online date23 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


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