“Midwesterners, the study found, go online most often to read news. Northeasterners, more than residents in other parts of the country, use the Web primarily for shopping. Those in the South log on at the lowest rate among the nation's regions, the study found.
The Pew study, one of the first to dissect Internet use along regional lines, also shows that Midwesterners use the Web slightly less than people in other parts of the country. According to the study, 56 percent of adults in Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana have access to the Internet, compared with 59 percent nationwide.
Librarian Lia Londrono is on the front lines of the area's evolving relationship with the Internet. A manager at the Chicago Public Library system's Logan Square branch, she has noticed a trend also captured in the recent study: Internet use in the Midwest has leveled off.
The same proportion of Midwesterners access the Web now that did two years ago, when the penetration rate peaked after several years of steep growth.
Londrono said that while many skip the books and head right for computer terminals at the library, 'we've noticed that the number of people [using computers] is no different now than it was several years ago.'
That leveling-off has also laid bare another pattern: Hispanics, Londrono has seen, use the Internet far less than their white counterparts….
Londrono said libraries try to counteract that digital divide–her branch offers classes on how to use the Web–though it's not always easy because many low-income Hispanics don't have computer access outside the library.” [Chicago Tribune, thanks Kate!]
Interesting, and I'm glad to see they got a librarian's take on this. I hope libraries with a concentration of patrons that primarily speak foreign languages are putting up signs in those languages noting that adults can request to have the filters turned off. [The Shifted Librarian]