The key barriers to internet access and use, according to recent research, are access to affordable connections, poor internet skills, lack of relevant local content and limited understanding of the value of the internet as an information channel.
The work of the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme demonstrates how public libraries in developing and transition economy countries, where the vast majority of offline people live, are playing a vital role. They are teaching ICT skills and, through information services focused on local needs, demonstrating how online information can change lives. For example, Zagreb City Libraries in Croatia provides ICT training and employment information to homeless people. Northern Regional Library in Ghana combines ICT and leadership training for vulnerable, unemployed youth. In Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar City Public Library uses digital technology to bring a talking books service to blind and visually impaired people through 21 rural libraries.