Monday, October 10, 2016

Closing the Digital Divide: Latinos and Technology Adoption

Bradley, Rebecca
INFO 266
Fall 2016

López, M., González-Barrera, A. & Patten, E. (2013). Closing the digital divide: Latinos and technology adoption. Retrieved from the Pew Hispanic Center website:

This report conducted by the Pew Hispanic Center in 2013 presents interesting information about Latino Internet usage, which could be helpful to both school and public libraries attempting to better understand and reach out to Hispanic community. As in most articles and reports, the authors chose to use “Latino” to mean anyone of Hispanic heritage living in the United States. This includes people born in the U.S. as well as immigrants.

This report shows that some 78% of Latinos said they used the Internet or sent or received email at least occasionally, which is up 14% since 2009. However, there was still a lingering digital divide among Latinos. In simple terms, English-dominant, US-born, younger, and richer Latinos were more likely to go online than Spanish-dominant, foreign-born, older, and lower-income families. (See graph below.)

As a Spanish bilingual elementary school librarian, this report confirms what I have already suspected. Many older immigrant parents at my school seem quite uncomfortable using the Internet to find resources for their children while younger, U.S.-educated parents appear to have fewer qualms doing so. However, in my opinion the greatest obstacle for the older immigrant parents is their low-level of formal education and in many cases illiteracy. One of my professional goals as a librarian is to offer reading classes to Latino parents in Spanish in hopes of empowering them to feel more at ease with books, libraries, and online resources.

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