A new blog US IMPACT is hosted at the University of Washington:
The public access systems I have used in my days on the net started out with collections of computers or terminals set up for computer science or math departments and only sometimes grudgingly shared with liberal arts majors; that progressed towards free dialup access in systems like the Cleveland Freenet which in turn begat low cost commercial dialup access.
Libraries as public computing centers puts them one step closer to the role of public production libraries, an early 1990s era vintage vision of what happens when the means of production of media is in the hands of the people and not the commerical world: From the Immediast International's Seizing the Media:
Public production libraries will be built in sisterhood with the public libraries that now exist. Within each production library will be the facilities to produce print, audio, visual, and database material. "Librarians" will serve as technicians, maintainance, and repair people. Production libraries will give people a larynx through which to speak. The media seized, corporations silenced, and the State under relentless scrutiny, we will reconect and celebrate who we are.
Did it work out this way? Not quite, not that you'd really expect it to - there's so much to consume via a computer that it's hard to get quiet time to produce. It's still worthwhile thinking what the role of the library is for people creating their own media and not just using it as a public access point to media that's already there for the viewing.