Public libraries have been seen to have an important role in providing digital services to potentially excluded groups in order to help meet government targets regarding the delivery of digital services. Geographical information systems (GIS) have been used to investigate library service areas, to aid initial location decisions, and to model the implications of the opening and closure of library services. Recent studies have promoted the use of GIS-based techniques to investigate spatial variations in accessibility to public and private services in relation to socio-economic characteristics of population groups. One such technique, based on floating catchment area (FCA) approaches, has been primarily used to investigate potential inequalities in health services, access to employment and leisure opportunities, as well as planning public transport. In this study, FCA techniques are used to research variations in accessibility to public library facilities using bespoke application tools developed within a commercial GIS package. Drawing on a preliminary analysis of variations in accessibility to library services in a local authority area in south Wales, UK, a case study is presented whereby GIS-based models can be used to investigate spatial variations in digital services provision. As a result, provision gaps of such services can be identified. This study's findings help guide national government delivery programs to promote digital inclusion.
- digital services
- gis-based accessibility models
- public libraries