ERIC Number: ED484726
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Mar
E-Powering the People: South Africa's Smart Cape Access Project
Council on Library and Information Resources
This document examines the launch of the Smart Cape Access Project in Cape Town, South Africa. In a city where more than 80 percent of the citizens do not have access to computers and fewer still can access the Internet, public officials set out to build a "smart city," where "informed people could connect to the world and to each other by the technology of the information age." The result is the Smart Cape Access Project--an effort that has not only increased the number of library users, helped the unemployed find jobs, and convinced city leaders of the value of free access to technology, but also given people hope. This case study details how city officials capitalized on an idea and made it into a reality. Using the existing resources of public libraries, they embarked on an experiment of placing a few computers in a handful of libraries in disadvantaged areas and giving users free access. The pilot phase of the project was launched in July 2002, when 36 computers were installed in six public libraries in disadvantaged areas across the city. In each library, one computer was designated for administrative use and the other five were earmarked for public use. Each administrative computer was then linked to the central management site of the entire network. One month later, library patrons had free Internet access for the first time in South Africa. The Smart Cape Access Project is still in its infancy but has been very successful so far.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Internet, Disadvantaged, Access to Computers, Public Libraries, Information Technology, Library Role, Program Descriptions
Council on Library and Information Resources, 1755 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036. Web site: http://www.clir.org.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Authoring Institution: Council on Library and Information Resources, Washington, DC.