Digital Equity is a growing concern in our post-pandemic community, and the library is actively addressing this need. While the pandemic didn't cause digital inequities, it did bring them forcibly into the national conversation by highlighting existing inequities. The issues of the underserved and those mired in poverty were even further exacerbated by the changes the pandemic brought.
One of the largest indicators of economic success is access to an affordable, stable broadband connection. The lack of access to this type of internet connection especially impacts families with school-aged children. These families need access for regular schoolwork and research, especially when school buildings close and classes are virtual.
Even before COVID, libraries around the country were actively engaged in shrinking the inclusion gap by offering Wi-Fi hotspots to customers.
While short-term hotspot and device lending is useful, it's not a long-term viable solution for customers without access to a stable Internet connection. Baltimore County Public Library is working to create a long-term Wi-Fi router and device lending program to ensure customers can participate effectively in society and the economy on an extended basis.
This program provides reliable, high-speed internet access to customers in need. A loan term is up to six months per item with a limit of one device and/or one router, depending on need. Customers are required to have a library card to apply and would need to stipulate that they do not have any other means of internet access or device availability.
Your support can help us continue to close the inclusion gap. Donate today.