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Lectures at Illinois to focus on bridging 'digital divide'


Phil Ciciora, News Editor
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will host a series of lectures on Wednesday evenings through Nov. 12 about bridging the digital divide in communities, education, libraries and public policy.

“Our lecture series will bring the hands-on experts in policy planning and implementation regarding the issues of the digital divide right here to our local community,” said Abdul Alkalimat, a professor of library and information science and African-American studies at Illinois.

The term “digital divide” refers to the haves and have-nots of the modern information economy: the gap between those who have access to information technology (that is, computers, data networks) and those who don’t.

“We have a digital divide problem in virtually every society in the world, and it is important that all of us understand this issue, especially students at GSLIS,” Alkalimat said.

The lectures will have a focus on community informatics, an academic discipline that studies the uses of information technology for personal, social, cultural and economic development within communities.

All of the lectures are free and open to the public, and will begin at 6 p.m. at the Library and Information Science Building, 501 E. Daniel St., Champaign.

The schedule:
Oct. 1: “Building Community Technology Centers,” Martin Wolske, lecturer, GSLIS.

Oct. 8: “Critical Perspectives of a Community Activist,” Imani Bazzell, Center for Civic Engagement and Social Justice, Champaign Urban League.

Oct. 15: “Public Computing in a Champaign Library,” Amy Al-Shabibi, technology manager, Champaign Public Library and Kristina Hoerner, director of adult services, Champaign Public Library.

Oct. 22: “Computing in the Champaign School System,” Roger Grinnip, director of information and instructional technology, Champaign Public Schools.

Oct. 29: “The Digital Divide at Illinois,” David Ruby, manager of Computer Labs, Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services, University of Illinois.

Nov. 5: “Making and Implementing City Policy,” Fred Halenar, information technology officer, city of Champaign.

Nov. 12: “Broadband Access for Illinois,” Ryan Croke, policy adviser, office of the lieutenant governor, state of Illinois.