KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Matt Sterling believes internet is almost as important as power, water and other utilities.
“If you have somebody have the power go out for two hours or they lose their internet for two hours, ask them which they’re more upset about. It’s a toss-up sometimes. Clearly, they’re pretty much on the same level now. So for people who don’t have internet access, we’ve got to get them plugged in,” he explained.
Sterling is the president of a nonprofit called Friends of the Kansas City, Missouri, Public Library. All month long, it is collecting donations to help the library buy more Wi-Fi hotspots.
Through a newly expanded program called “Internet To Go,” the Kansas City Public Library allows patrons to check out a hotspot for 14 days for free. The hotspot allows users to connect up to 10 devices to the internet.
Sterling said the program is even more important now as so many people work from home or go to school from home and library branches have had to scale back services, only allowing reserved time in computer labs.
“We’re trying to deal with the pandemic, but if you don’t have internet access at home, there’s a disconnect there. So we have to help bridge that, otherwise we’re just leaving people behind and we can’t do that,” Sterling said.
You can learn more about the Friends of the Kansas City Public Library’s fundraiser on its website. The organization will match up to $10,000 in donations. A similar fundraiser in the fall raised $18,000 for the program.
Other library systems in the area have made similar adjustments in order to keep their patrons connected.
- The Mid-Continent Public Library will launch a Wi-Fi hotspot checkout program in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, it used CARES Act funding to boost the signal strength of Wi-Fi at library branches so patrons can access the internet from the parking lots.
- Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library also boosted its Wi-Fi signal strength proving access from the parking lot.
- Olathe Public Libraries used CARES Act money to buy more mobile Wi-Fi hotspots. Its branches and computer labs are open.
- Johnson County Public Libraries are open and offering access to the computer labs, but with limited hours of operation. Johnson County library users can check out hotspots from Olathe Public Libraries. The Johnson County system also partnered with KC Digital Drive to hand out free Wi-Fi hotspots to qualified low-income families. It will conduct a technology study to determine the need for Wi-Fi hotspots within the library system. The library is implementing the county’s “Digital Navigators” program. The goal is to help residents impacted by COVID-19 by teaching them computer skills and helping them access the internet.
The Rebound Kansas City is our effort is to help metro residents play a role in moving our community forward. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas to via email to [email protected] and we welcome you to join in the conversation on the Rebound KC Facebook Group.
Whether you’re Getting Back to Work after a layoff, need help Making Ends Meet during these trying times or need tips on Managing the Pressure we’re all feeling, The Rebound has resources to find help. We’ll also make sure local leaders are Doing What’s Right to get Kansas City back track after a three-month shutdown.
Need a job? Be sure to visit our local jobs board powered by Indeed.
Website of source