Agency and ageism in the community-based technology support services used by older adults

Noah Lenstra


Many older adults turn to community-based institutions as they learn digital technologies in retirement. In the U.S., these institutions include public libraries and senior centers. A one-year study of technology support services in these spaces finds that older adults adapt services to meet their digital learning and literacy needs. Simultaneously, societal ageism, manifested in institutional policies and practices, hinders the agency of older adults. These findings suggest that community-based technology support services need to transcend ageism and embrace the agency of community elders, who are a growing and important segment of local communities throughout the world.


Community informatics; public libraries; digital literacy; aging society

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