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Government's Digital Strategy Framework

20 May 2005

Lianza Welcomes Government's Digital Strategy Framework

LIANZA welcomes the overarching framework of the Government's new Digital Strategy which Information Technology Minister, David Cunliffe, announced this week. The Government said it will provide more than $53 million to implement the strategy as part of the 2005 Budget.

LIANZA President, Steven Lulich, said the Library & Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) has been a strong proponent of the need for New Zealand to adopt a National Digital Strategy to ensure all New Zealanders benefit from information and communications technology.

"From the outset we have maintained that to have a knowledge society you need knowledge resources, knowledge access and knowledge equity. The Government's commitment to facilitate broadband connectivity, build content and improve digital literacy echoes the direction we have advocated"

Mr Lulich said that Libraries play a central role as information intermediaries and are a place of access for information in the community. "We hope that the Digital Strategy initiatives directed to local communities will enable funding for up-skilling library staff and upgrading library infrastructure to fully develop the People's Network throughout the country."

The People's Network has been a successful initiative to upgrade the ICT capability of all the public libraries in the United Kingdom. Mr Lulich said his association has observed that public library services in some areas of New Zealand are under pressure to meet the challenges of a digital environment due to a lack of funding and a requirement to return revenue. "The roll out of the Digital Strategy will provide increased support for these communities and their public library infrastructure".

Mr Lulich said central government has a key role to play as catalyst for improving library services through local communities. The National Library had demonstrated how it can act as a positive catalyst with initiatives such as its negotiation of EPIC, which provides New Zealanders access to enormous digital library resources through the public library network.

ENDS

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