Aabo, S. (2005). The role and value of public libraries in the age of digital technologies. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 37(4), 205-211.
In this examination of the usage, roles, and value of public libraries in the digital age, the author asserts that technology has fragmented society, isolating citizens from their community, and that libraries serve as accessible arenas that foster democracy, social cohesion, and community involvement. Other authors briefly address this indirect effect of technology on public library service but no other source rivals the detail Aabo devotes to the topic. Aabo also addresses direct changes in service, echoing the finding of other researchers that public libraries act as gateways by providing access to the Internet and assisting in its use, thereby narrowing the digital divide. Aabo suggests these effects of technology are extensions of traditional library services and delivers the conservative conclusion that the public libraries’ roles of promoting democracy, disseminating and providing access to information, providing worthwhile leisure activities, and acting “as a communal institution and a social meeting place” have been unaffected by technological advances.