Between digital inclusion and social equality: The role of public libraries in Newcastle upon Tyne


  • Maria Laura Ruiu Northumbria University
  • Massimo Ragnedda



Public libraries, digital inclusion, digital divide, social inclusion, Newcastle Upon Tyne.


This paper is based on findings obtained from a qualitative research on the role of public library service in reducing digital inequalities in disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Newcastle upon Tyne. Semi-structured interviews with four libraries’ staff members, direct observation during ordinary activities and events organised by libraries aimed to explore both the role played by public libraries in reducing digital inequalities and the current challenges that these actors face to promote digital and social equality. On the one hand, it identifies positive impacts produced by the public libraries through digital education and digital infrastructures on disadvantaged neighbourhoods; on the other, it identifies some barriers experienced by public library authorities in providing such services.