The Development of the Internet and Libraries: Popular Education and Permanent Training

In offering digital documents, the Internet constitutes a tool for the renewal of writing. As such, the attitude of libraries will be determined by the development of this medium. On the one hand, a real game of monopoly is being played out on a global scale which finds expression through the domination of cultural production under the aegis of large multinationals (Microsoft, Elsevier). On the other hand, the Internet allows the profusion of initiatives, both individual and public which broadens the spectrum of free information. How can libraries favour the redistributive aspect of the Internet and participate in the construction of a unified information society? In the face of vertical monopolies favoured by the convergence of computing, telecommunications and the media, libraries must defend their social mission in order to prevent a new division between the « info-rich » and the «  info-poor ». Some propositions in this direction are presented, from the creation of Internet workshops to the defence of the logic of membership faced with « pay-per-view » for access to digital documents. A criterion emanates from this debate: how libraries' choices can favour the expansion of knowledge, education and citizenship.