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Thomas Suarez – iPhone Application Developer… and 6th Grader

What were YOU doing in 6th grade? Suarez already has apps for sale in iTunes, has his own company, hopes to start designing apps for Android and is developing educational software for use in schools.  He has parents and teachers who support his penchant for technology and software development, and now he’s sharing his knowledge with other students, teachers and the world. This is the new literacy.

But what about kids who don’t live in a home that has access to an iPad, or whose parents aren’t computer literate themselves?  It still amazes me when people come up to me at the reference desk asking for help finding “the internet” on the library’s computers, or setting up an email account for the very first time.  The digital divide is alive and well, even in Google’s heartland.

Those kids whose parents don’t know how to use a computer?  They’re going to be competing with the likes of Thomas Suarez for spots in university and eventually in the workforce. Public libraries can and should get in the game with lending digital devices with educational apps and software pre-loaded onto them for use by anyone with a library card.  Equal access for all doesn’t just apply to books anymore.