Tech rentals could boost Vision 2020

Published 5:08 pm Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Austin Public Library’s plan to add a rental service for laptops and tablets could be the perfect opportunity for local cooperation.

The library is undergoing large technological decisions after its computer lab became massively popular with residents. The lab, set up in 2011 to accommodate resident use, has been so successful that library staff are finding more ways to get residents the tech access they desire. The library secured a $35,000 grant from The Hormel Foundation this year, with another $7,000 put up by the library, to install a vending machine-like laptop and tablet checkout for residents as soon as this summer.

We can’t help but think of another plan to boost technology in Austin: Vision 2020’s Community Wide Technology Committee focused on creating a broadband fiber network in Austin.

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Community-wide access to high speed Internet is a fantastic idea, but access to the laptops and tablets to utilize that high-speed broadband is just as important.

As the committee’s name indicates, the plan is for community wide tech, not just those who can afford it. Many Austin residents don’t own a laptop, tablet or home computer, so rental services like the one library is planning could be key for Vision 2020’s plan to improve access to high-speed Internet in Austin.

If Vision 2020 and Austin Public Library leaders haven’t yet discussed how the two projects could be mutually beneficial, we suggest they do soon.

Vision 2020 is all about community cooperation, and this is a great chance to improve an idea.