Millions surf the web thanks to librarians

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PUBLIC library staff and volunteers in the UK have helped more than 2.5million people to go online in the past 18 months.

And most of these people were completely new internet users, some tentative users who lacked confidence in their skills.

Nearly 30% of households in the UK do not have access to the internet at home and for many people the local library is an essential link for access to online resources.

Access to the internet is provided free of charge in more than 90% of libraries across the UK.

In September 2010, the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) pledged to get 500,000 people online by the end of 2012 as part of the Government’s RaceOnline 2012, led by UK Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox.

She said: “Libraries are crucial to the success of Go ON UK’s objectives. The thousands of digital champions in libraries and millions of new internet users are to be commended.”

And SCL President Nicky Parker added: “We have exceeded our target by five times and it is still early in 2012.

“This is thanks to the thousands of dedicated library staff and volunteers who are digital champions and through whom this achievement has been possible.”