Small & paid for ICT Kioskies versus bigger & free library services at Letlhakeng Village, Botswana

LEBELE, Ayanda Agnes (2016) Small & paid for ICT Kioskies versus bigger & free library services at Letlhakeng Village, Botswana. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2016 – Columbus, OH – Connections. Collaboration. Community in Session S27 - Africa. In: Building Cross Cultural Capacities for Universal Access to Information and Knowledge in Africa, 11-12 August 2016, Athens, Ohio, USA.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/2083
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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Small & paid for ICT Kioskies versus bigger & free library services at Letlhakeng Village, Botswana

The use of ICT public access centers has been acclaimed as a worthy strategy for enabling disadvantaged communities’ access to the technologies (Davidson et al 2006:6; Ankisola et al 2005:37). Botswana adopted a long term development strategy, popularly termed Vision 2016, as a guiding framework on national development strategies. The strategies include efforts to promote access and usage of ICTs to especially disadvantaged communities. The government introduced Community user Information System, popularly termed Kitsong Centers (place of knowledge) for especially people in rural areas. The present paper is deduced from a broader study that set out to establish how the Letlhakeng community accessed and used the technologies that were available through public access centers to access social services. The library was the only center that offered the community access to the ICTs for free. The community also paid to use the technologies that were available in other smaller stand-alone centers. The paper shares findings on the varied factors that shaped the access and usage patterns of the Letlhakeng community’s access and usage of the ICTs that were available through public access centers. The study observes a worrisome trend of preference to access and use ICTs that are paid for instead of the free services at the library. The study also notes strategic collaboration opportunities between the library and the mushrooming ICT stand-alone in the effort to bridge the digital divide. The learning curves from the study contribute to the body of knowledge on the nature of the digital divide in Africa. It also offers information useful for improving especially libraries participation in bridging the observed divide.

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