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Strategies for Promoting Access to the Internet Among Children and Youth: A Case Study of the San Francisco Public Library's Electronic Library Project

Emily MURASE <emurase@stanford.edu>
Stanford University

Sybil BOUTILIER <sybilb@sfpl.lib.ca.us>
San Francisco Public Library

Christian SANDVIG <csandvig@stanford.edu>
Stanford University


What role can public access to the Internet play in the education and development of children and youth? Communication policymakers and proponents of educational technology have proposed that universal access to Internet technology is necessary to promote modern education, communication, and citizenship. Under the 1996 Telecommunications Act, public funds are currently being allocated to assist public institutions, specifically schools and libraries, in mediating and facilitating this access. This paper, based on a two-year project located at the San Francisco Public Library, examines the challenges and benefits of providing children and youth with universal access to Internet technology. Three strategies are evaluated: the library-based Electronic Discovery Center, the classroom-based Civic Conference, and a training program known as the Teacher/Librarian Institute.



What role can public access to the Internet play in the education and development of children and youth? Communication policymakers and proponents of educational technology have proposed that universal access to Internet technology is necessary to promote modern education, communication, and citizenship. Under the 1996 Telecommunications Act, an estimated $620 million per year in public funds will be allocated specifically to assist schools and libraries in mediating and facilitating this access [1]. This paper examines strategies, challenges, and benefits of providing children and youth with universal access to Internet technology, as discovered by the project team responsible for three initiatives in providing Internet access to youth at the San Francisco Public Library [2].

The U.S. High Performance Computing and Communications Program, authorized by the U.S. Congress, identifies digital libraries as a "national challenge." As part of this challenge, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has sought to fund fundamental applications that have broad and direct impact on the nation's competitiveness and the well-being of its citizens through its Network Infrastructure for Education grant program. The San Francisco Electronic Library Project is a two-year initiative funded by this grant program with the specific objective of promoting Internet access and literacy among children and youth. These goals are consistent with universal service initiatives, and the library is eligible for universal service funds under the 1996 Act. However, the San Francisco Public Library project will be completed before national universal service funding begins. As an example of a major institutional initiative completed before the introduction of widespread national funding for universal service from schools and libraries, this project provides an important opportunity to examine successful, and not so successful, approaches to this objective and to identify the potential benefits and lessons learned.

Three strategies and initiatives for promoting Internet access to children and youth

As part of the Electronic Library Project, the project team at the San Francisco Public Library devised three distinct but complementary strategies for promoting Internet access to children and youth [3]. These initiatives are the Electronic Discovery Center (EDC), the Civic Conference, and the Teacher/Librarian Institute. Each of these initiatives is described and discussed later in this paper. For a summary of the key characteristics of each initiative, see Table 1.

Table 1.

Overview of Three Initiatives:
San Francisco Electronic Library Project


Electronic Discovery Center (EDC)

Civic Conference

Teacher/Librarian Institute


Computer centers set up in children's libraries with high-speed Internet access and a variety of software

Internet-based conferences between students in class and civic leaders on specific topics selected by teachers

Lecture and hands-on training on ways to incorporate online resources into a curriculum or program




Computer lab











1-week conference

1-week institute

Target Audience




Time Interaction

Synchronous or asynchronous


Synchronous or asynchronous

Target Application


Threaded discussion

Information retrieval

*Although the specified target audience is children, adults accompanied by children are also allowed to use the EDC.

Direct Internet access for kids: the Electronic Discovery Center

First, with a focus on direct Internet access for children, the centerpiece of the Electronic Library Project has been the introduction of the Electronic Discovery Center. The EDC is an island of computers in the Children's Center on the second floor of the Main Library containing 12 multimedia computers connected to CD-ROM towers that serve age-appropriate software [4]. In addition, these terminals offer T1 Internet access and are restricted to use by children and by adults accompanied by children.

Children wishing to use the terminals sign up for 30-minute time slots. According to statistics maintained by the children's librarians, the terminals are occupied virtually the entire time they are available for use. During a typical week, the EDC services an average of about 100 children per day.

Over a six-week period in the spring of 1998, a member of the project team sought to evaluate usage patterns at the EDC by conducting nonparticipant observation and unstructured interviews with children and volunteer staff of the EDC. Two patterns emerged. First, children seldom used the terminals for school-related assignments or other educational endeavors. Instead, the three most frequently observed uses of Internet connections were, in order of use, arcade-style games, live chat, and MUDs or MOOs. Notable exceptions were found among the youngest children, who did use the CD-ROM educational software.

Nevertheless, the second finding suggested that the EDC facilitated other kinds of learning. After spending hours watching children at the EDC and speaking with some of them, the researcher concluded that children used the EDC computers in fundamentally collaborative ways.

The researcher observed that multiple children often share the use of one computer. Children devise sharing arrangements, saying, for example, "You use this part of the keyboard, and I'll use this part," and "I'll do the mouse, and you do the keys." They often look at the computer screen of the child next to them and ask questions like "Oh, you got that? I didn't get that," and "How did you get in there?" Children that have already spent 30 minutes on the computers may linger in the EDC and give advice to other patrons, for instance, "You have to use shields now, or you'll die!" Recipients of this advice are sometimes hostile, but usually grateful, inviting more advice by asking questions like "What next?" In the atmosphere of a children's library, children are not shy about mingling with strangers of similar age.

The researcher further observed unexpected cross-generational effects. Parents often accompany children into the EDC, watch or use the computer with their child, and then experience what might be termed "trickle-up" benefits of electronic literacy. One volunteer explained, "Parents and children will come [here] together, especially with the small ones...Usually the child will know more about these things than the parent." A mother and child were observed playing a drawing game by sharing the trackball--each with one hand overlapping the other. An immigrant grandmother and toddler were observed learning to read English together using a "Living Books" CD-ROM.

The collaborative use of computers poses unique challenges for the library. One of the most common complaints among children's librarians is the increased noise level that results from shared use of computers. Traditionally, libraries have been places for silent reading and quiet contemplation, but with the introduction of interactive multimedia computer applications, some librarians have complained of the "video game arcade" atmosphere of the EDC.

From a more general perspective, with public access Internet workstations, librarians are called on to offer advice for Web searches and to suggest Web sites for information, not just books. Librarians report a strong demand for Web site addresses and other online information. At one branch, neither patron nor librarian knew how to enter a uniform resource locator (URL) into a Web browser. Even questions about locating Internet content were often unusual requests, such as "I need a free e-mail account. Where can I find one?" or "I need to find an e-mail address in China. Where would I do that?" This type of information is beyond the expertise of many librarians and suggests a need for training. Sufficient training for librarians is difficult to achieve because public access multimedia computers are often installed before reference desks are similarly equipped, so that librarians lack access to the tools for self-training or on-the-job practice, leaving many of them behind the learning curve. This is primarily due to funding realities, because computer upgrades for staff are seldom seen as a priority for funding.

Public access computer workstations further affect the job of the librarian to the extent that these computers require a large amount of technical support. The types of technical support questions patrons ask librarians are often not suited to the librarian's traditional role. However, the children's librarians are those who are required to undertake this technical support task, because they are the nearest to the computers. The most commonly observed questions were similar to "The computer's broken, can you fix it?" and "Can you help me? My screen is frozen." Even the presence of a support infrastructure (e.g., volunteer mentors, technical support staff in the automation department) does not mitigate this impact entirely, because the librarian is the primary point of recognizable institutional contact nearest to the computers.

Despite these challenges, the EDC has clearly become an important means of providing direct Internet access to the target population, and there is evidence to suggest that the EDC facilitates collaborative learning in ways not possible with other Internet access strategies. The unstructured nature of the initiative provided few incentives for children to use the Internet for applications that might be considered educational in a more traditional sense. In the next initiative discussed, a direct classroom application of Internet technology was attempted.

An Internet application for the classroom: the Civic Conference

In a partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District and the WELL Engaged On-line Conferencing Service, the project team developed and facilitated two week-long sessions of an electronic Civic Conference in May 1998. This conference, representing a second strategy of the library to promote Internet literacy among children and youth, linked the students of three high schools with local public officials and business leaders for an on-line discussion of policy issues.

Each conference session was designed to address a specific curriculum topic. The two topics addressed were juvenile justice and international trade with an emphasis on China. Subject matter experts, with whom students would not otherwise have had an opportunity to interact, were recruited and trained [5]. Students at each of the high schools were organized into teams that posted questions to the public officials and subject matter experts, who had 24 hours to log on and respond. This conversation then continued back and forth for one week. For example, one team of students opened a discussion on curfew by asking the San Francisco Chief of Police, "Why do you think teenagers should have a curfew?" [6]

To evaluate the effectiveness of the conference, the project team conducted a student survey about (1) attention to news about the issues addressed in the Civic Conference and (2) attitudes toward participation in local government. The written survey was administered at one high school to two classes (44 students) that participated previously in the conference and two comparable classes (31 students) that did not. Although the means of various questions are reported below, the sample size was too small to establish a statistically significant difference between groups.

Students were asked about the degree to which they pay attention to news about issues related to the conference topic [7]. In all cases, students who participated in the Civic Conference paid more attention to these issues than those who did not participate. The two groups differed in ways suggesting that the Civic Conference had some influence in raising awareness about these issues [8].

Students were also asked about the extent to which they agreed with statements about public participation in local government. The difference in attitudes between those who participated in the conference and those who did not were notable. For example, a higher percentage of the students who participated in the Civic Conference believed that city officials cared, compared with those who did not participate in the conference [9].

In addition, a higher level of cynicism was observed among students who did not participate in the Civic Conference [10].

Although not statistically significant, the two groups differed in ways suggesting that initiatives similar to the Civic Conference may improve student attitudes toward public participation in local government. In addition, the project team interviewed the teachers, public officials, and subject matter experts who participated in the conference to evaluate the initiative. Among the teachers, the reviews were mixed. The exercise was the most successful when the teacher invested considerable time and energy incorporating the two themes of the conference into the curriculum in the weeks leading up to the activity. Only one teacher demonstrated this level of commitment. In addition, the two other teachers did not have access to a computer lab to allow students to type in their questions directly.

For the one teacher who successfully incorporated the Civic Conference into his curriculum, the rewards were great. He found that the exercise contributed to both writing and Internet skills.

Even students who were normally shy about their writing contributed actively. Students were able to convey their thoughts and feelings freely. For some reason, electronic communication was non-threatening to students. They seemed to lose fear of expressing themselves...The students had a lot to say. And students became more adept at using the Internet [11].

On the whole, the public officials and business leaders who participated in the initiative also found it valuable. The Director of the Mayor's Criminal Justice Council stated: "It enhanced my efforts to let people know about the juvenile justice programs that are available." [12] The consultant from the California Council on International Trade felt, however, that the asynchronous threaded discussion format unnecessarily limited the conference [13].

Thus, while the Civic Conference succeeded in demonstrating the educational value of an Internet application designed specifically for the classroom, challenges remain in making the activity as effective as possible. A high level of commitment to the conference should be established beforehand from participating teachers. Students must be sufficiently prepared to take full advantage of the opportunity to interact with guest participants in a focused discussion.

One of the key factors in the success of the Civic Conference was the close collaboration between the library and the school district. This collaboration is also the basis for the third strategy for promoting Internet access among children and youth: training school librarians and media specialists in online resources at the library.

Internet training for school librarians and media specialists: the Teacher/Librarian Institute

In the third initiative, the project team conducted two week-long Teacher/Librarian Institutes to provide hands-on instruction in a small-group setting for school librarians and media specialists [14]. In a second-order approach, this initiative sought to expose children to the Internet by teaching those who teach. Many teachers were not up-to-date on what electronic resources the public library provided, how to access them remotely, or how best to include them in student assignments.

Over the course of five days, library staff exposed participants to more than a dozen online resources, including the Internet and aggregated databases [16]. The participants worked on individual computers in the library's computer training room, and trainers were dedicated to helping them with their searches and questions. Resource training was presented in the mornings, followed by self-directed, mentor-assisted searching in the afternoons. At the outset, participants were asked to choose a research subject that they would pursue using each online resource covered in the training. The afternoons allowed participants time to experiment with the resources and materials in the subject of their choice. At the end of the week, they shared their findings with the class. The topics were varied and included brain development, personal accounts of the Revolutionary War in America, Beatrix Potter Web sites, and emotional intelligence.

To evaluate the Teacher/Librarian Institute, participants completed evaluation forms at the conclusion of the training. These forms, which also asked about computer usage and literacy, revealed that most participants used computers on a daily basis and had some familiarity with the Internet [17]. Despite the fact that most participants were already familiar with the Internet, the training reinforced and expanded existing skills [18].

Of the participants who responded, most (88%) gave the Teacher/Librarian Institute the highest rating of "excellent," with the remaining participants deeming it "very good," which was the next highest rating on a five-point scale. Comments such as the following were typical:

I feel like a whole new wing has been added to our small school library! I look forward to teaching the students how to search and find, as well as enjoying this valuable information on my own and with my family [19].

Despite the success of the Teacher/Librarian Institute, release time for school and library staff remains a major stumbling block. The challenge will be to develop a shorter program -- possibly lasting two afternoons -- that can be regularly scheduled and made available to both school and library staff.

By providing direct Internet access to children, developing and facilitating an Internet application for the classroom, and conducting training for school librarians and media specialists, the library has implemented three distinct but complementary strategies for promoting Internet access among youth and children. All of the initiatives appear to have been successful with some challenges remaining. Nevertheless, what are the tangible benefits of these efforts?

Tangible benefits of strategies and initiatives

See Table 2 for a summary of the benefits and problems associated with each issue. Each of these issues is discussed in the next section.

Table 2.

Outcomes of Three Initiatives:
San Francisco Electronic Library Project


Electronic Discovery Center (EDC)

Civic Conference

Teacher/Librarian Institute


Promote electronic literacy


- electronic literacy

- cross-generational learning*

- collaborative learning*

- nontraditional learning*

- learning at own pace

- electronic literacy

- enriched classroom experience

- less expressive students participate

- improve attitudes toward officials

- strong tie to curriculum

- electronic literacy

- increases value of extant technology in classrooms/libraries

- encourages alternative uses of technology*


- technical support

- librarian training

- noise/atmosphere

- no direct link to educational curriculum

- technical support

- teacher training

- teacher commitment*


- release time

- presupposes institutional access to technology

- tends to draw those who already have some Internet experience

* Items marked with an asterisk were largely unexpected.

Electronic literacy

A key policy goal for universal access to the Internet is to promote electronic literacy. To varying degrees, all three library initiatives showed evidence of enhancing the electronic literacy of participants. All initiatives reached a capacity or near-capacity audience that demonstrated gain in Internet skills and use as measured by observation, interviews, and self-report questionnaires.

In contrast to the undirected and unstructured Internet access available in the EDC, the Civic Conference was a highly directed and structured setting for students and other participants to improve their electronic literacy. As cited above, in the classroom in which the conference was the most successful, even less expressive students felt comfortable communicating online.

Enhancing the electronic literacy of adults who work closely with school-aged children was the objective of the Teacher/Librarian Institute. By the end of the training, all had been exposed to at least half a dozen online databases, ranging from the Educational Resource Information Center (ERIC) database, which provides annotated references on educational research, to the San Francisco Connection, a community database that includes most local social service agencies and nonprofit organizations.

How does this benefit children and youth? When asked at the conclusion of the training to list the online resources participants planned to use in their work, one school librarian responded as follows:

I will encourage teachers and students to explore the SFPL homepage. I plan to teach students to find books and their location via the Web with the library's On-Line Public Access Catalog (OPAC), and to do research and homework using First Search and Yahooligans' Homework Help sites. I intend to use OPAC, First Search, UMI, EBSCO and the Web to research books for faculty and students, make book lists, and find articles [20].

Other participants echoed these comments.

Through these three library initiatives, not only children and students but also school librarians, media specialists, and even public officials receive the tangible benefit of expanded electronic literacy. The end result improves electronic literacy for a wide range of individuals in positions of influence, not only in the schools but in civil society.

Collaborative learning

A second important benefit of the library's initiatives is the collaborative learning that resulted. This collaboration occurred among children at the EDC, all participants in the Civic Conference, and the school staff members who participated in the Teacher/Librarian Institute. Results of these initiatives suggest that computers in public places promote collaboration.

At the EDC, groups of children used adjacent computers to pass questions and advice to each other. Novices stood by and observed those who are more skilled, adopting for themselves successful Internet search strategies and interesting URLs. The unique collaboration among students, teachers, public officials, and business leaders who participated in the Civic Conference resulted in learning that was based not on textbooks, but on real-life experiences communicated online. At the Teacher/Librarian Institute, the final project was designed with collaborative learning in mind. After spending a week researching a topic of their choice on the library's online databases, participants were required to share their findings with the others. Participants not only presented their chosen subjects, but also shared their search strategies, evaluation of the information available online, and some of the pitfalls of online searches.

Although people with computers at home are likely to be able to learn to use them via many strategies (e.g., trial and error, reading documentation, or taking classes), having a physically proximate group of other users promotes collaborative learning. Although even collaborative learning might exist in the home (e.g., between a parent and child) or at the workplace (e.g., among public officials or school staff), the broad mix of people with a wide range of experience levels in a public setting greatly accelerates this process.

Lessons learned

What elements of the San Francisco Electronic Library Project are relevant to the attempts of other public institutions to provide public Internet access? In addition to the benefits cited above, there are a number of lessons the project team has learned as a result of the three strategies and initiatives it has pursued.

Beyond educational access: providing a social environment for exploring the Internet

In evaluating the EDC, the project team arrived at two especially surprising conclusions. First, based on observations, evaluating EDC terminals solely on the basis of their value as educational or reference tools appears to be misguided. This just is not how children normally use the terminals. Second, children do not necessarily flock to the EDC because they do not have Internet access elsewhere. In some cases, children do have networked computers at home. Instead, they come to the EDC explicitly for the social interaction with other users.

Many of the institutional structures supporting the EDC have framed the computers and resources there in terms of reference and/or education. Computer use by patrons in the EDC, however, is far more exploratory and nonlinear than access to other library materials, especially when considering the Internet. Although a large amount of educational content exists on the Internet, and the Internet could be used as a reference tool, children using the EDC were only rarely observed to use the Internet in this way.

For example, the researcher observed one child who filled out a personal profile on Yahoo Chat, using the menu of choices to indicate that he was an "Executive" in the "Finance/Banking/Insurance" industry. The child then visited several chat areas for his 30-minute EDC session, pretending to be this imaginary person. "I do insurance," he typed. He appeared drawn to masquerade as an adult primarily to watch other conversations without participating, except to comment on his constructed identity. Many of the uses that were observed were extremely nontraditional in nature and suggest motives for use that have not been previously articulated.

Indeed, children reported social motives for Internet use and they enjoy coming to a public space to use this communication technology. Although publicly available free computers connected to the Internet and children's software might be expected to be a powerful draw to those without access to these resources elsewhere, children are in fact drawn to the collaborative, social atmosphere of the public access computer center, regardless of their availability at other locations. This atmosphere draws patrons with no computer at home, but it also draws those with other access.

"My dad works at the Internet," a 13-year-old African American boy said in an unstructured interview with the researcher. When asked if he has access to the Internet at home, he stated, "Yes." When asked why he comes to the EDC to use the Internet, he said that he is not sure. When asked if it is the speed of the computers, he replied, "No, it's the other people and stuff. [He looked around the room.] You can talk to them."

These conclusions have important implications for public institutions that provide public Internet access. Evidence from the EDC initiative suggests that given a cluster of public computer terminals for children, their use will be fundamentally social. For the library, this means that noise levels will invariably increase and that the role of librarians will likely include mediating social conflict of a kind not encountered when only books were available in the children's libraries. Also, patrons will not always (and perhaps not often) use terminals in intended ways. Although the EDC was established primarily as an educational tool for children, it has also evolved into a social environment for exploring the Internet. Although it has deviated in some ways from its intended purpose, the demonstrated use has immense value from the perspective of collaborative learning about the Internet among children and youth.

Community collaboration as enabler

Without community collaboration, the Electronic Library Project could not have been launched. None of the library initiatives would have been possible. It is significant these initiatives employed different sets of community partners.

For the Electronic Library Project as a whole, the library relied on funding from a federal agency, the NSF. As part of its funding, the NSF requires that grantees demonstrate partnerships with public agencies and the private sector. The library enjoys a long list of corporate sponsors who were generous in meeting not only the software and hardware needs of the EDC, but also the training needs of library staff [21].

The Teacher/Librarian Institute demonstrated the importance of sharing resources between two public institutions with similar educational missions, the library and the school system. The Civic Conference engaged not only the San Francisco Unified School District, but also elected and appointed local government officials. In addition, business leaders played an important role in fulfilling the educational mission of the activity. Finally, library staff worked closely with developers at the WELL Engaged On-line Conferencing Service to create a user-friendly interface for the discussion.

Of course, collaboration entails coordination costs. However, based on the library's experience with these three initiatives, the benefits greatly outweigh the costs. Public institutions that wish to promote Internet access to children and youth would do well to identify community partners -- whether they are other public agencies or private corporations -- to leverage resources, maximize the reach of this access, and make the access meaningful to the intended audience. A final statement of the five strongest conclusions that apply across all initiatives appears in Table 3.

Table 3.

Conclusions Across All Initiatives:
San Francisco Electronic Library Project

  1. Universal access initiatives based in schools and libraries have great potential to increase computer literacy among the population.
  2. Libraries and schools can successfully collaborate as mediators and facilitators for Internet access.
  3. Universal access needs are varied and require varied initiatives to address them.
  4. Unstructured public Internet access for children is poorly classified as either strictly a reference tool or an educational tool; initiatives to promote specific uses must include a structure to support and encourage specific uses.
  5. The primary obstacle facing universal access initiatives in schools and libraries is not the provision of technology, but rather teacher/librarian training and technical support.

In conclusion, this case study of the San Francisco Public Library's Electronic Library Project has shed light on three key areas: (1) how public institutions can facilitate universal access to Internet technologies and related challenges; (2) the benefits that can result from providing such access; and (3) the keys to successful promotion of Internet access to children and youth.


[1] Universal Service Administrative Company, Federal Universal Service Programs Fund Size Projections and Contribution Base for the Second Quarter 1999. Madison, WI: January 29, 1999. p. 15. See http://www.fcc.gov/ccb/universal_service/quarterly_filings/1999q2/2q99usac.pdf

[2] This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. REC 9603344.

[3] The project team is composed of Sybil Boutilier, Principal Investigator and Coordinator of Grant-Funded Programs; Toni Bernardi, Coordinator of Children's and Youth Services; Deborah Cornue, Assistant Chief of Branches; Dede Puma, NSF Liaison Librarian; Shellie Cocking, Children's Materials Selector; Denise Schmidt, Children's Librarian; Linda Geistlinger, Manager of the Fisher Children's Center--all of the San Francisco Public Library; Anna Couey, Web and Civic Conference consultant, and project evaluators Emily Murase and Christian Sandvig of Stanford University.

[4] 133-MHz Pentium computers with 32 MB RAM memory, 2.1 gigabyte hard drives, and 6X CD-ROMs connected through a DEC Alpha server running Windows NT to twin Meridian 56 CD-ROM servers.

[5] The subject matter experts included, among others: The San Francisco Chief of Police, the Director of the Mayor's Criminal Justice Council, a judge from the juvenile justice system, the Chief of the Youth Guidance Center, a district attorney, a public defender, the Director of the Mayor's Office of International Trade and Commerce, a consultant to the California Council for International Trade, and a former president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

[6] Transcript of discussion with San Francisco Police Chief Fred Lau as submitted to the Civic Conference, May 1998.

[7] The four topics were crime and the justice system, how the law affects juveniles, our country's relationship with China, and trade with other countries.

[8] This suggests the need for an expanded test program that would examine this issue using a larger sample population to obtain statistically significant results.

[9] Similarly, while nearly 40% of the nonparticipants did not feel that city officials cared much about what they thought, less than 30% of participants shared this view.

[10] While a majority of these students did not feel that their opinions influenced the actions of local officials, only about one-third of those who did participate shared this view. Of those who participated in the conference, 25% believed that they could influence the actions of local officials, compared with only 16% of nonparticipants. A slightly higher percentage of participants (36%) than nonparticipants (35%) believed that there is a lot that they could do to change the actions of local government. Similarly, a lower percentage of participants (27%) than nonparticipants (32%) felt that they have little influence over the actions of local government.

[11] Comments by Adonis Torres, civics teacher at Mission High School in San Francisco who had two classes participate in the Civic Conference, in a post-conference telephone interview, May 1998.

[12] Comments by Kimiko Burton, Director of the Mayor's Criminal Justice Council, in a post-conference telephone interview, June 1998.

[13] Comments by Paul Lamb, consultant with the California Council on International Trade, in a post-conference telephone interview, June 1998.

[14] A total of 22 individuals participated in the training that was held in June and August 1998.

[15] Comments by Judge Donna Hitchens, Juvenile Justice Division of the City and County of San Francisco Courts, in a post-conference telephone interview, June 1998.

[16] These online resources included the San Francisco Public Library's On-Line Public Access Catalog, the Internet, Ebsco, First Search, UMI, Galenet, and community databases.

[17] Nearly three-quarters of the participants (73%) used computers on a daily basis. Two reported "never" using the computer, and one reported using the computer about once a week. Over two-thirds (68%) were either somewhat or very familiar with the Internet, and half reported using the Internet at least daily.

[18] Comments by a participant in the June 1998 Teacher/Librarian Institute.

[19] Comments by a participant in the June 1998 Teacher/Librarian Institute.

[20] Comments by a participant in the August 1998 Teacher/Librarian Institute.

[21] For the Electronic Discovery Center terminals, the library has received the generous support of Apple Computer, Broderbund, MCI Link, Microsoft Corporation, and Triadigm Technologies. For the Civic Conference, the project team worked closely with the San Francisco Unified School District and the WELL On-line Conferencing Service, which donated 200 accounts in its WELL Engaged secure Internet area to the activity.

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