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BRIDGING THE 'DIGITAL DIVIDE' IN RENFREWSHIRE

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Minister for communities Wendy Alexander has congratulated Renfrewshire Council for providing library facilities th...
Minister for communities Wendy Alexander has congratulated Renfrewshire Council for providing library facilities that give excellent local access to new sources of information and to the internet.

Renfrewshire Council's library service was one of this year's winners of a Charter Mark Award. The award scheme is an initiative at the centre of the government's drive to improve and modernise public services.

Speaking at the Paisley Central Library, Ms Alexander said:

'The technology explosion we are experiencing today is every bit as important and far reaching as the industrial revolution. But I am conscious that a huge proportion of the population feel that they are being left behind.

'Almost one in four Scots homes have access to the internet in high income areas, less than 1 in 20 in Scotland's most disadvantaged communities. These figures reveal a wide gap between the information 'haves' and 'have-nots' in Scotland.

'We are determined that everyone should have access to the opportunities which this technology revolution can offer. Libraries, with their local and familiar surroundings, offer ideal places in which to learn.

'I would strongly encourage community organisations in hard-pressed areas to apply for the new lottery funding of£23m, announced last month, to provide computers and training, and to improve adults' access to learning and job opportunities.

'I hope that the fine example set by Renfrewshire Council, recognised by the Charter Mark Award, extends to other councils. That will make a difference in delivering the high quality services that people have the right to expect.

'We must stay at the forefront of this revolution and ensure we all have the opportunity to access and benefit from these technologies.'

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