Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest Territories and one of Canada’s smallest capitals with only 18, 700 residents. The Yellowknife Public Library is the only Northwest Territory library that uses a Library 2.0 application to reach users.
The YPL does not have its own webpage but is instead nested within the city of Yellowknife’s homepage. Unfortunately, the YPL’s Facebook page can only be accessed if you have a Facebook account, which I don’t, so I couldn’t even take a peek. The link to their page is easy enough to find, but they should make it accessible to anyone rather than Facebook users only to reach a broad audience.
My post could end here, but I decided to look a little further and see if there were any related organizations, blogs, or websites that were using 2.0 apps. I found the Northwest Territories Literacy Council website, an active site with great resources on Aboriginal languages, literacy facts, and digital literacy (which provides information on some Web 2.0 social media such as blogs), and more. The NWT Literacy Council has a YouTube channel, a Twitter account, and a Facebook page that include regular updates on poetry, books, youth literacy, the NWT 11 official languages, and much more. Twitter and Facebook are updated regularly, and the YouTube channel has 15 uploaded videos where you can learn about Family Literacy or how to make a foam book.
The territory of Nunavut has a population of just over 33,000. The Nunavut Public Library Services site serves all of Nunavut’s public libraries. The Nunavut Public Library Services provides vital services to those in the community, including a Borrower by Mail program, Reading Circles, and internet access. Although Iqaluit’s Public Library has seen major cutbacks in programming in the past, recently, the library has had a record number of visitors. Hopefully, as communities and telecommunications companies work to bridge the digital divide in Nunavut and as more and more people visit the library, library staff will be able to engage in 2.0 services and maintain a regular presence online.
I wondered if the digital divide has anything to do with the NWT and Nunavut’s libraries’ lack of engagement in Library 2.0 services online. I came across a recent article on the digital divide in Canada’s northern communities in Up Here Business magazine. Loren McGinnis’ article “The Digital Divides” discusses internet connectivity in northern communities. McGinnis says the digital divide “means some people have access to all of the information and services provided on the Internet and some do not.” The digital divide in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, as well as the relatively small and sparse population, may explain why their public libraries use few 2.0 applications.
Perhaps there are in-library initiatives that I am not aware of that encourage patrons to engage with their library. As Michael Casey iterates, “Library 2.o is not just about technology.”