Latina immigrants to the U.S. Midwest have specific needs from their information and communication technologies. These needs are defined by their personal identities (daughter, mother, sister, aunt), their cultural identities (immigrant, rural resident), and their social roles (parent, employee). In some ways, these women could be viewed as vulnerable and as “have nots,” but looking deeper reveals how these women use ICTs in ways that serve them and their identities, creating and nurturing community, maintaining family relationships near and far. Their uses of ICTs demonstrates their act of balancing public and family relations, making tradeoffs between privacy and community integration, and how these choices are influenced by identity. Looking at this population in the context of traditional digital divide studies suggests that they are “on the wrong side” of that divide, but also suggests that our concept of the digital divide is limiting and may not be adapted to the variety of needs of multiple communities. This project came about through the generous support of the ALISE-OCLC Library & Information Science Research Grant and the research networks created by the University of Missouri’s Cambio Center.
Bio: Denice Adkins is a professor at the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies, University of Missouri, and co-editor of Journal of Education for Library & Information Science. She is currently serving as Membership Director of the Association for Library and Information Science Education and Treasurer for REFORMA (The National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking). She has been Fulbright Scholarship to Honduras, Fulbright Specialist to India, president of REFORMA, secretary-treasurer of ALISE, and councilor-at-large for the American Library Association. Her research interests include public libraries, services to the Latinx community, and services for diverse library users.
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