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The roles of libraries in providing access to the Internet are still evolving, but such roles raise policy issues that are both significant and complex. A flexible and dynamic policy is needed to respond to the different access needs of various users. Market forces alone will not provide equal access to the Internet, and many public institutions will encounter too many barriers to realize the full potential of the resources and services available over the Internet. Partnerships among and between government and the private sector are essential to increase access to the Internet. Libraries are well-suited to advance the national objectives for the Information Superhighway, and Congressional support for their roles is needed. Results of recent studies suggest that there is a long way to travel before the policy goals of Congress and the Administration are accomplished. Clarifying the policy goals, the roles of the libraries, the role of the public sector, and universal access to the information superhighway are necessary for the achievement of network literacy and usage. Coordinating federal support and replacing rhetoric with program realities are essential to the introduction of new technologies and ways of thinking. An appendix provides a biographical sketch of the author. (Contains 19 references.) (SLD)

Descriptors: Access to Information, Federal Government, Financial Support, Government Role, Information Literacy, Information Technology, Internet, Library Role, Library Services, Private Sector, Public Policy

Autor: McClure, Charles R.


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