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Rural Hotspot Lending Program

Rural Hotspot Lending Program

Introduction TIPI, in partnership with researchers at the University of Oklahoma and Simmons University, is examining how rural libraries address the challenges of Internet connectivity with the use of library-based hotspot lending programs. We are also researching...

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TIPI Working With Good Systems Project Teams

TIPI Working With Good Systems Project Teams

Ethical Data Design for Good Systems Summary: We conceptualize data and its handling as the core elements in building good systems, recognizing that data and the systems that manage it are not neutral but rather implicated in a chain of decisions, organizational...

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Report: The digital inclusion role of rural libraries: social inequalities through space and place

Abstract: A great deal of scholarship on broadband deployment and federal policies has positioned rural America through a deficit framework: rural parts of the country have older populations (and therefore not tech savvy), are poor (and therefore justifiably ignored by the market), too remote (therefore outside of legitimate profit-making enterprise), and losing population (and therefore significance). This research examines rural Internet connectivity through the lens of local libraries lending hotspots for Internet connectivity. Qualitative data gathered in 24 rural communities in Kansas and Maine undercut simplistic notions regarding how communication systems operate in environments ignored by normative market operations. Financial precarity and pressures from social and economic institutions compel rurally based individuals and families to assemble piecemeal Internet presence and connectivity. The public library plays a crucial role in providing Internet resources and stands out in the rural environment as a site that straddles public trust and local.

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