In 2001, North Lanarkshire Libraries and Information Service secured funding to deliver on‐line learning and support through a Community Learning Hub to the Motherwell North Social Inclusion Partnership area containing some of the most socially excluded communities in North Lanarkshire. The project centred on the development of an e‐learning web site offering learning information, support, and materials and included a laptop‐lending facility available to residents. The decision to develop e‐learning services was based around a number of factors prevalent in North Lanarkshire including poor educational attainment; skills gaps identified by employers in the local labour force, particularly in the areas of ICT and basic computing; high unemployment and a number of other obstacles to learning including transport difficulties, child care issues and disability. In addition, developments in new technology including the spread of the home ownership of computers, and the increased availability and uptake of broadband suggested thate‐learning facilities would attract a viable client base. The project would also fit with the People's Network initiative that has connected all UK public libraries to the internet.
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