Info City Lectures and more 2008-2021
Info City Lectures (logo)

Now in its thirteenth year, the Info City Lectures are supported by the iSchool's Community Informatics Research Lab. The series looks at how everyday people in varied arenas are navigating the digital age with all its new ways of working and living. It acknowledges that librarians and information professionals can and must keep up with how people are learning and using technology in actual communities. It keeps the digital divide in focus: How are things unfolding in the real world? CI Lab has carried out several related local projects, among them one culminating in a faculty-student report: The Community Anchor Institutions of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois: Technology Use by Non-Profit and Public Organizations in the Broadband Moment, Volume One and Two, and another underway to study social patterns to Tech Help among people in six different countries.

The fall lecture series was founded by Associate Professor Kate Williams and Professor Emeritus Abdul Alkalimat and continues every fall. Our usual weekly slot is Wednesdays 11-Noon in Room 53 at the University of Illinois iSchool, 501 E Daniel Street, Champaign, IL. For 2021 the pandemic has moved us to Wednesdays 10:30-11 am via Zoom. Email katewill[at] for the Zoom details.

Please join us at any event that interests you! For more information or if you would like to speak in the series, contact katewill[at]

Thirteenth Annual Info City Lectures (2021)

Join us via Zoom on Wednesdays 10:20-10:55 am Illinois time via Zoom. Write to katewill [at] for Zoom details.

April 7. Mike Smeltzer, local broadband champion and Chairman Emeritus of UC2B, giving an update on the rollout of community broadband that was first conceived (by him) in the 1990s. Video, Slides

April 14. Janice Mitchell, founder and director, Urbana Neighborhood Connections Center, and Abdul Alkalimat, Professor Emeritus of African American Studies and Information Science, UIUC, talking about local digital divides and digital community work. Video

April 21. Alex Carruthers, Toronto Public Library, on their seniors tech help line and other digital literacy programming. Video, Slides

April 28. Tracy Smith, Director of Research IT and Innovation, UIUC, Raya Hegeman-Davis, School University Research Coordinator, Bureau of Educational Research, UIUC School of Education, and Paul Hixson, past CIO for UIUC, on the overarching plan for the university to address local digital divides, part of the current "Campus-Community Compact to Accelerate Social Justice." Video, Slides

Info City Lectures on hiatus (2020)

Campus leave puts the info city talks on break this year. Stay safe in the pandemic, everyone, and see you next year.

Twelfth Annual Info City Lectures (2019)

In Spring 2019 we partnered with UC2B, Urbana Champaign Big Broadband, on a campus-community Day of Discovery that reflected on and contextualized UC2B's Community Benefit Fund. This fund was established to help overcome local digital divides. Video, program, and more.

August 28. Jacob Johnston, Age-Friendly Program Coordinator for the Urbana Park District and Clark-Lindsey Village. Video.

September 4. Michael Smeltzer, local internet inventor-designer and Board President, Urbana Champaign Big Broadband. Video.

September 11. Abdul Alkalimat, Professor Emeritus, Department of African American Studies and School of Information Sciences, speaking on the information ecology of the Black community, past and present. Video.

October 9. Aaron Ammons, County Clerk, and Angela Patton, Chief Deputy Clerk, Champaign County, speaking on the state of electronic voting in our county, with a glance backwards and forwards. Video, Slides.

Monday, October 14. Rebekah Buchanan, Associate Professor, Department of English, Western Illinois University, speaking on Norway's libraries for prisoners, schoool, and the public. Details here. Recording of the livestream.

October 16. Bill Van Cleave, Arrow Taxicab, on driving a cab in the age of the app. Video.

November 13. Laura Bleill, founder, on local information online. Video part 1 Video part 2 Video part 3.

November 15-16. Mortenson Distinguish Lecture and "Why Libraries, Why Librarians?" Indaba. Partnering with the Mortenson Center we invited faculty, alumni and friends to explain their current priorities for libraries, librarians and MSLIS education. Event website including archived video.

November 20. Jason Liggett, Urbana Public TV, on maintaining the local public airwaves. Video part 1 Video part 2 Video part 3.

Eleventh Annual Info City Lectures (2018)

This year we continue the Minitalks in partnership with Mortenson Center, in Spanish and English, in spring and fall. Archived video and slides are here.

September 6. Hui Yan, Associate Professor, Renmin University, Beijing, 数字边缘人群田野研究报告 Digitally Marginalized Communities: A field report from China. This talk was co-hosted by the iSchool's Chinese Students and Scholars Group, which has a WeChat group and can be found via this year's president Shuyi Liu ( To advance a global approach to scholarship and recognize the international composition of the iSchool, this event was conducted in Chinese, and to our knowledge this was the first ever school event in Chinese. Slides and Video.

Also this semester we are partnering with UC2B, Urbana Champaign Big Broadband, towards a community-based event that advances the discussions we've been having on campus and supports the Community Benefit Fund, a digital divide initiative of UC2B. Please stay tuned.

Tenth Annual Info City Lectures (2017)

September 7. Michael Smeltzer, local internet inventor-designer (UC2B), and Mike Whitaker, I3/Countrywide Broadband. and

September 21. Abdul Alkalimat, professor emeritus, UIUC iSchool and Department of African American Studies.  Video.

September 28. Rudolf Haken, viola professor, UIUC College of Music.  Video.

October 5. Noah Lenstra, assistant professor, UNC Greensboro Department of Library and Information Science.  Video.

October 12. Chris Hamb, consultant to the City of Champaign and owner, Chrisp Media.  Video.

October 19. Joanne Mierek (MSLIS '10), chief operations officer, Common Ground Food Coop.  Video.

October 26. Tina A. Cowsert, MSEd, NBCT, Deaf & Hard of Hearing/Blind & Low Vision Disability Specialist, UIUC.  Video.

November 2. Tom Laurence, clinical neurologist, UIUC College of Medicine.  Audio.

November 9. Nancy Delcomyn, commissioner, Urbana Park District.  Video.

November 16. Jorge Rojas-Alvarez, research assistant for the UIUC Recovering Prairie Futures Research Cluster and PhD student in informatics, on "Radio Sutatenza: Construction of History and Memory in a public library." Since June 2017, the documentary exhibition "Radio Sutatenza: A cultural revolution in the Colombian countryside (1947-1994)" has been opened at the Luis Angel Arango Public Library in Bogotá,Colombia. This exhibition has become a meeting point for researchers, rural leaders trained in the literacy program, radio enthusiasts and activists, and agricultural improvement organizations. This talk will focus on the narrated history about this multimedia based literacy program, the particular features of designing a documentary exhibition like this in a public library, and the formation of networks of people who find in the library a place to build a historical memory about this program.  Video.

Additional events for 2017: Minitalks "Libraries, Literatures and Literacies"

In Spring 2017 as the Graduate School of Library and Information Science became the School of Information Sciences, we initiated a series of minitalks called "Libraries, Literatures and Literacies." These featured innovative practitioners and our own faculty. These also continued in Fall semester. Our goal from the start was to connect to unfolding events and our school's current research, hosted jointly by the iSchool and the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs. For more information see Open to all interested parties.

January 19. Hailley Fargo (MSLIS '16), Penn State Library, on her Trump election libguide., Talk archived at:

February 2. Lucie Faulknor, Producer with Serendipity Films on the Free4All project., If you can, watch these short videos in advance:, password F4@2016, and Talk archived at:

February 9. Bonnie Mak on How to Publish a Cabinet. Talk archived at:

February 23. Kate Williams on Libraries and Communities in times of Digitization and Crisis. Talk archived at:

March 2. Liz Hoiem on The Literacy Practices of Child Laborers. Talk archived at:

March 9. Kate McDowell on Storytelling Thinking for Professionals. Talk archived at:

March 16. Laurie Allen, U Penn Libraries, on #datarefuge. Talk archived at

March 30. Alistair Black on Information Management in the Intelligence Branch of the British Army 1870-1914. Talk archived at

April 6. John Chrastka, EveryLibrary, on Political Campaigns for Libraries. and Talk archived at

April 13. Terry Weech on ALA Accreditation of LIS Education. Talk archived at

April 20. Jodi Schneider on Making Sense of Research Literature: Can we improve Systematic Reviewing methodologies? Talk archived at

April 27. Emily Knox on Reading practices and the control of information. Talk archived at

Ninth Annual Info City Lectures (2016)

September 8. Darryl Hoemann, local photographer and retired photo editor with the Champaign News-Gazette: Photography shifted from film to files.  Video | Slides

September 15. Greg Lambeth, local birdwatching teacher, guide, photographer: Birdwatching in digital transition.  Video

September 22. Harriett Green, UI Library: Publishing Without Walls, a project of U of I supporting digital humanities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and elsewhere.  Video

September 29. Paul Arroyo, electronic publisher, UI Press: The evolution of the digital book  Video

October 27. Jack Linchuan Qiu, professor, the Chinese University of Hong Kong School of Journalism and Communication: Book talk on his study of tech factory workers in China, Goodbye iSlave: A Manifesto for Digital Abolition Talk at 9 am, via skype   Video

November 3. Pattie Piotrowski, recently named university librarian, University of Illinois at Springfield: Academic libraries and their immediate local communities in the digital age  Video

November 10. Hui Yan, associate professor, Renmin University Department of Information Resources Management: Digital citizenship in urban and rural China Talk at 9 am, via skype

November 17. Mike Smeltzer, designer and implementer, UC2B project building broadband across Champaign-Urbana, and colleague TBA: Community broadband in Champaign Urbana  Video

Eighth Annual Info City Lectures (2015)

September 10. Peter Resnick, Internet Engineering Task Force.  Video

September 17. Chris Hamb, Chrisp Media.  Video

September 24. Laurie Matheson, Jennifer Comeau, Linda Schuh, and Paul Arroyo, U of I Press.  Video

October 1. Brenda Nyandiko Sanya, Phd Student, Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership.  Video

October 8. Mike Smeltzer, CITES, UC2B and beyond.  Video

October 22. Carol Ammons, Illinois State Representative.  Video

October 29. M. C. Neal, Urbana Free Library.  Video

November 5. Carolyn Anthony, Skokie Public Library. (VIA SKYPE)  Audio

November 12. Alroy Scott and Tod Petrie, Illini Bookstore.  Video

Friday, November 20. Librarian Alison Macrina presents her Library Freedom Workshop. This extended lecture ran from 9 to noon.  Video (incomplete / ends at 1:27) | Audio | Slides as pdf

Seventh Annual Info City Lectures(2014)

September 4. Celeste Choate, Executive Director, The Urbana Free Library. Video | Slides

September 11. Will Kent, Brooke Bahnsen and Ed Remus, Three graduates of the Community Informatics program at GSLIS working in public libraries. Video

September 25. Kristina Hoerner, Champaign Public Library Adult Services Manager. Video | Slides

September 27. Mark Henderson, Chief Information Officer of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This event was the Information City Lecture Series first community-based lecture. It was held from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, September 27, at the Champaign Public Library. Video

October 2. Noah Lenstra, Aging in the Information City. Noah is a PhD candidate in Library & Information Science researching how community institutions support the digital literacy of older adults. Video | Slides

October 9. Chris Hamb, Info City. Chris Hamb is founder and director of Chrisp Media. Video

October 16. Kerris Lee and Brian Bell. Kerris Lee is the founder of CTRL Shift (Creative.Technology.Research.Lab.) Shifting Education. Teaching K-12 students how to computer program. Brian Bell is the founder of the Digital Equality Initiative. Video

October 23. Mike Smeltzer and Levi Dinkla, High-speed broadband. Mike Smeltzer, former primary investigator of UC2B and retired Director of Networking, CITES, University of Illinois will discuss UC2B origins and history. Levi Dinkla, vice president, iTV-3, will discuss the current state and future of high-speed fiber optic broadband access in Champaign-Urbana. Video | Mike Smeltzer Slides | Levi Dinkla Slides

October 30. Laura Frerichs, University of Illinois Research Park Director and Director of Economic Development for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus. Video | Slides

November 6. Hui Yan, The Information City in China. Associate Professor in Information Resources Management, Nankai University Business School. Video | Slides

November 13. Julia Hersberger, A study of how the homeless use free cell phones to expand their information networks. Hersberger is a faculty member in the Library and Information Studies Department of the School of Education at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Slides | Audio

November 20. David Keyes, Community Technology Program Manager, City of Seattle Department of Information Technology. Video | Slides

December 4. Scott Bonner, Ferguson (Missouri) Municipal Public Library, Information City Lecture Series. Video | Chat [Note: audio disrupted during last 10 minutes of lecture].

Why a new name? (2014)

For six years GSLIS has sponsored ten Digital Divide Lectures each fall. This year we continue under a new name: the Info City Lectures. But the digital divide has not disappeared. So why the change?

These lectures and our other work have taught us that the digital divide is not only a simple matter of haves and have nots. It is the have-nots, the have-less, and the have-mores. It is in motion, expanding from computers to phones to chips everywhere. Old applications (email) are joined by new ones (social media). It is pervasive in our work, education, culture, and daily lives. Yet some data is plentiful, some non-existent, and most of it not shared or even understood. Looking at it sector by sector, there are many surprises.

Through all this, an information city is coming into being. The industrial city was a result of all kinds of forces. This time around, can we be more conscious and deliberate? Can we make sure the outcomes work for all of us?

This means conversation, so the Digital Divide Lectures become the Info City Lectures.

It also means work. So far infocitycu includes:
1. Connectivity: affordable broadband
2. Computers: recycled and updated
3. Public computing: open and functioning labs
4. Cybernavigators: supporting people at public computing sites
5. Community help desk: an IT department for the community
6. Cyberspace: online content of, by, and for the community
7. Annual community meeting: to keep it all on track and transparent

infocitycu builds on UC2B and its Community Benefit Fund. And on PLATO, Prairienet, and many more campus and community innovations. It is currently led by four partners -- Chrisp Media, Digital Equality Initiative, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of African-American Studies, and the Graduate School of Library & Information Science Community Informatics Research Lab -- and is gaining supporters. Implementation is the task, but the concept is simple: Connected we stand!

Sixth Annual Digital Divide Lecture Series (2013)

September 5. Marisa Duarte, Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow for American Indian Studies. Video

September 12. Maria Mobasseri, Department Chair of Computer Science and Information Technology, Parkland College. discussion handout

September 19. Brian Bell, Digital Equality Initiative. Video

September 26. Mike Smeltzer, UC2B. Video | Slides |Map

October 10. George Reese, Director of Office for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education, University of Illinois  |  EtoysIllinois  |  Public Engagement Portal  |  Video

October 10. Marina Kukso, LocalWiki. Skype Video

October 17. Dave Witzany, Interim Station Manager, WEFT-FM, Champaign, IL. Audio | Slides

October 24. Raphaëlle Bats, École nationale supérieure des sciences de l'information et des bibliothèques (ENSSIB), France’s National School of Information Science and Libraries On the way to participatory democracy in libraries: from political discourse to communication to publics. Video

October 31. Annie Abbott, University of Illinois Spanish, Italian & Portuguese Department, How Do You Say Digital Divide in Spanish? Community-Campus Partnerships with Spanish-Speakers. Website | Video | Slides

November 7. Neo Blagness, TruBu Press, Defying The Prime Directive: The Dangers of Filling Rather Than Bridging The Digital Divide. Video

November 21. Sarah Christensen and Merinda Hensley ExploreCU. Website | Video

Fifth Annual Digital Divide Lecture Series (2012)

All 2012 Videos

September 5. Mike Smeltzer, UC2B, and UIUC Director of Networking. Video

September 12. Barbara Oehlschlaeger-Garvey, Assistant Director, Museum of the Grand Prairie. Jed L. Taylors, Stake Family History Center. Video | Garvey Slides

September 19. Annie Clay, Director Help Book Online. Barry Ackerson, Associate Dean and MSW Program Director, UIUC School of Social Work. Video | Clay Slides

September 26. Reverend Willie G. Comer, Pastor, Berean Covenant Church. Will Kyles, City Councilman, Champaign. Chris Hamb,Chrisp Media. Video

October 10. Michael Dilley, Fire Chief, Urbana Fire Rescue Services. Video

October 17. Donald Owen, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Urbana School District 16. Video | Owen Slides

October 24. Dr. William Schuh, Chief Medical Information Officer, Carle Foundation Hospital. Jerry Dewitt, Library Manager, Carle Foundation Hospital. Video | Schuh & DeWitt Slides

October 31. John Wagstaff, Head of Music and Performing Arts Library, UIUC. Video

November 7. Denise Osler-Brown, former Computer Instructor, Douglass Branch Library. Please contact Professor Kate Williams or Professor Abdul Alkalimat for access to this week's video.

November 14. Katie Abrams, Interim Director and Assistant Professor, UIUC Ag Com/Coll of Media/ACES. Abigail Sackmann, Research Assistant, UIUC Ag Com and Masters student, GSLIS. Video | Abrams_Sackmann Slides

November 28. Valerie McWilliams, Managing Attorney, Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance. Stacie Colston Patterson, Outreach Coordinator, Illinois Legal Aid Online. Video

December 5. Ricardo Diaz, Office of Extension, UIUC. Video

December 12 Jon Gant, Research Associate Professor, UIUC GSLIS, and Director, proposed Center for Digital Inclusion. Martin Wolske, Senior Research Scientist and Adjunct Faculty, UIUC GSLIS. Video | Williams Slides | Wolske Slides

Fourth Annual Digital Divide Lecture Series (2011)

All 2011 Videos

September 8. Mike Smeltzer, Director of Network Communications, Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES), UIUC. Teri Legner, Economic Development Manager, City of Champaign. Video | Handout | Anchors Map

September 22. Rev. Eugene Barnes, Metanoia Center. Rev. Charles Nash, New Hope Church of God in Christ. Video

September 29. Roger Grinnip, Director of Information and Instructional Technology, Champaign Public Schools. Christopher Fuller, Director of Instructional Technology, Urbana School District 116. Video

October 6. Debra Lissak, Executive Director, Urbana Library. Marsha Grove, Director, Champaign Public Library.Video

October 13. Bradford Cronk, Technology Supervisor, Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (CUMTD). Stephen Wanzek, Airport Manager, Willard Airport. Video

October 20. Lynette Kvasny, Pennsylvania State University. Video

October 27. Dale Morrissey, Executive Director, Developmental Services Center. Alan Thomas, Deaf Services Coordinator, Persons Assuming Control of their Environment, Inc. (PACE). Video

November 3. Fred Halenar, Information Technologies Director, City of Champaign. Bill DeJarnette, CIO, City of Urbana. Video

November 10 Brian Bell,, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Grant Coordinator, Computer Science and Information Technology Department, Parkland College. Jon Gant, Research Associate Professor, Library and Information Science, U of I. Video | Slides-Gant | Flash Prezi - Bell

November 17. Wilma White, Clark Lindsey Retirement Village. Carol Lewis, Salem Baptist Church. Video

Third Annual Digital Divide Lecture Series (2010)


All 2010 Videos

August 26. Beth Sandore, Associate University Librarian for Information Technology Planning and Policy, Associate Dean of Libraries, and Professor of Library Administration. Bridging the digital divide in the U of Illinois Libraries. Video | Audio

September 2. Brian Bell, Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Grant Coordinator, Computer Science and Information Technology Department, Parkland College. Bridging the digital divide at Parkland College. Video | Slides

September 16. Frances Roehm, SkokieNet Librarian and Community Liaison, Skokie Public Library, and Member, DCEO Advisory Committee for the Eliminate the Digital Divide Program. Bridging the digital divide in Illinois communities. Video | Audio

September 23. Michael K. Smeltzer, Director of Networking and Acting Director of Physical Infrastructure. Bridging the digital divide via local/federal broadband construction: UC2B. Video | Audio | Slides

October 7. Drew Clark, Executive Director, Partnership for a Connected Illinois. Understanding Illinois digital divide via statewide broadband mapping and measurement Video | Audio

October 14. Herbert Kubicek, Professor of Applied Computer Science (Telecommunications and Information Management), University of Bremen. Understanding the digital divide in Germany Video | Audio

October 21. Greg Bruner, Illini Football Video Coordinator, U of I Intercollegiate Athletics. Overcoming digital divides in a college football team Video or video second option Audio

October 21. Greg Bruner, Illini Football Video Coordinator, U of I Intercollegiate Athletics. Overcoming digital divides in a college football team Video or video second option Audio

October 28. Peter Braunfeldt, Professor of Mathematics (Emeritus), University of Illinois. Reflecting on historical digital divides: Developing software for the early PLATO system Video

November 4. Deb Aggertt, Reference Outreach Coordinator, Illinois State Library. Bridging the digital divide at the Illinois State Library Video | Audio

November 11. Adrian Kok, Associate Professor of Social Work, Dominican University, Chicago. Understanding the digital divide for social work practice and research Video | Slides | Audio

Second Annual Digital DivideLecture Series (2009)

September 10. Kate Williams, U of I GSLIS. What is the Digital Divide? Video | Slides | Audio

September 17. Mike Smeltzer, U of I CITES. Abdul Alkalimat, U of I GSLIS/DAAS. UC2B: The Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband Proposal, August 2009 Video | Slides | Audio

September 24. Maryalice Wu and Dawn Nicholson-Owens, U of I ATLAS. Safiya Umoja Noble, U of I GSLIS. The Search for Broadband Data Video | Slides-Wu | Slides-Noble | Audio

October 1. Sascha Meinrath, Research Director of Wireless Future Program, New America Foundation. Cu-WiN Video | Audio

October 8. Debra Lissak, Executive Director of the Urbana Free Library. Mary Ellen Farrell, Board Chair of the Urbana Free Library. Policy: The Public Library Video | Slides | Audio

October 15. Don Owen, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Urbana School District 116. Policy: The Public School Video | Slides | Audio

October 22. Andre Arrington and Jason Keist, Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club. Solutions: Community Perspectives Video | Audio

October 29. Maria Mobasseri, Computer Science and Information Technology Department Chair. Brian Bell, Part-time Instructor and DCEO Grant Coordinator, Parkland College. Solutions: The Community College and the Community Technology Center Video | Slides | Audio

November 5. Peter FolkVolo Broadband and the Digital Divide Video | Slides | Audio

November 12. Bill DeJarnette, Information Services Manager, City of Urbana. Policy: City Government Video | Audio

November 19. Ryan Croke, Policy Advisor to IL Governor Pat Quinn. Policy: The State of Illinois and BTOP Video | Slides | Audio

First Annual Digital DivideLecture Series (2008)

UIUC Press Release

October 1. Martin Wolske, lecturer, GSLIS. Building Community Technology Centers

October 8. Imani Bazzell, Center for Civic Engagement and Social Justice, Champaign Urban League. Critical Perspectives of a Community Activist

October 15. Amy Al-Shabibi, technology manager, Champaign Public Library. Kristina Hoerner, Director of Adult Services, Champaign Public Library. Public Computing in a Champaign Library

October 22. Roger Grinnip, Director of Information and Instructional Technology, Champaign Public Schools. Computing in the Champaign School System

October 29. David Ruby, Manager of Computer Labs, Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services, University of Illinois. The Digital Divide at Illinois

November 5. Fred Halenar, Information Technology Officer, City of Champaign. Making and Implementing City Policy

November 12. Ryan Croke, Policy Adviser, Office of the Lieutenant Governor, State of Illinois. Broadband Access for Illinois