Library Stat of the Week #7: High rates of library connectivity in Kenya, Thailand and Mongolia offer potential for digital skills programming

In our 6th Library Stat of the Week, we looked at the share of public libraries which offer internet access in countries for which data is available.

As underlined, being able to provide this access is an increasingly important way for libraries to achieve their mission to give access to information.

The possibility to give access also means that libraries can host digital skills training, from the most basic abilities to more advanced capabilities. Such training can be particularly important in countries where people are less used to the internet, and so have not had the possibility to develop digital literacy.

Many funders are keen to support such initiatives. But how to identify where it could be easiest to do so?

One way is to look at data about the share of public libraries which offer internet access compared to the share of adults with their own internet access. Where there are higher levels of library connectivity (share of public libraries offering internet access), but lower levels of general connectivity (share of the adult population online), potential funders of digital skills programmes may have a particular interest in working with libraries.

We can identify these countries by crossing data from the IFLA Library Map of the World with that from the International Telecommunications Union:

Graph comparing shares of libraries offering internet access with shares of the population online

In this graph, each dot is a country for which data is available. Every country over the diagonal line has a higher rate of library connectivity than of general connectivity.

 

This gap is particularly high in Kenya, Mongolia, Saint Lucia, Thailand, Croatia, Kenya and South Africa, suggesting that they may be particularly interesting places to invest in digital skills programmes in libraries.

Clearly, as ever, the data is incomplete – figures for public library connectivity are only available for 30 countries, and there is the possibility of under-reporting. Nonetheless, this underlines the possibility to apply Library Map of the World data to support this sort of decision-making.

 

Find out more on the Library Map of the World, where you can download key library data in order to carry out your own analysis! See our other Library Stats of the Week! We are happy to share the data that supported this analysis on request.

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