Community Salute: Bridging the divide

Published 5:04 pm Friday, December 23, 2022

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With the digital divide becoming ever more impactful in the lives of people, it was incredibly optimistic this week to see the  Austin Public Library lay out for the community changes in its Hotspot Program and will continue to increase its resources to help people bridge that divide.

The announcement included that 100 more devices will be available to families who do not have internet at home and have school-aged children.

The expansion of the Hotspot Program comes with the help of Austin Aspires who obtained grant money for the library to provide these devices through the school year.

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With more and more things being done online, it’s easy for people who do not have the means to be left behind. The COVID-19 pandemic brought that hard fact to the surface when schools were forced to take learning online.

This directly affected those families who for one reason or another didn’t have access to the internet. While being able to do so many more things online proved to be a rare positive coming out of the pandemic, it nevertheless left people behind and in many ways expanded the digital divide.

It’s why the news coming out of the library and Austin Aspires, who already held a free computer distribution this fall, is so welcome. We know that there are groups actively working to make sure people have access to the same technology many of us already have and in the end this will connect us all to new opportunities.