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Public libraries can change lives and build strong communities because they are uniquely positioned within communities. They are gateways to knowledge and information and have the advantages of public trust, public funding and skilled staff. With limited additional resources, libraries can extend their services to hard-to-reach and marginalised communities.
In developing and transition countries where the need is greatest, public libraries are under-resourced. Many struggle to integrate ICT into their services. Obstacles include lack of knowledge and skills, outdated hardware, poor infrastructure, the high cost of commercial software applications and scarcity of funds.
Innovative library services using ICT can make a difference to the quality of people’s lives. Everyone should be able to reap the benefits of technology and the digital age.