Public access in libraries can be a powerful tool to bring online those most at risk of digital exclusion. An IFLA-led workshop at the WSIS Forum 2021 examines good practices, key considerations and ways to maximise impact.

The accelerating global shift from analogue to digital continues to emphasise the urgency of tackling persistent digital divides. Addressing long-standing digital inequalities – along the lines of gender, age, income, and other axes of inequality – remains a key challenge, as do the inequalities in internet access and use for those who do go online.

Alongside traditional operators and modes of connectivity, alternative models of bringing people online are an important part of the solution. An economical and equitable tool that can help get more people and more communities online is public access – as highlighted in the P4PA 2020 Declaration.

Shared connectivity and public access to ICT in places like libraries and community centres facilitate low or no-cost access, helping address questions of affordability. Many such facilities further support meaningful inclusion by offering digital skills learning opportunities, staff support, access to relevant digital materials and services.

This session explores the way public access solutions can be leveraged to support meaningful digital inclusion for underserved or more vulnerable user groups.

Drawing on experiences from different countries – from Singapore to Lithuania to Argentina – with supporting meaningful digital inclusion for women and older users, the workshop highlights good practices, key considerations, lessons learned and ways to maximise impact.


  • Teddy Woodhouse (Alliance for Affordable Internet/World Wide Web Foundation)
  • Simona ŽilienÄ— (Lithuanian Librarians’ Association)
  • Grace Sim (National Library Board, Singapore)
  • Muy-Cheng Peich (Bibliothèques Sans Frontières/Libraries Without Borders)

The workshop will take place on 23 April, 12:00–13:00 CEST (UTC+02:00)

You can access the event on the WSIS Forum Digital Agenda – register and join the workshop to follow the discussion, share your ideas and experiences with supporting digital inclusion!