Six months into this “new normal” we’ve become accustomed to seeing one another onscreen. Working, schooling, socializing – even seeing a doctor – virtually feels almost natural.
But what does that mean for the 20% of Mecklenburg County households who don’t have internet service or a reliable device to access it? They’re left behind, in ways made even more dire by the pandemic.
Your Library has long been a champion of equitable access to information, education and Library resources. Since the pandemic began, we've been working closely with public, private and charter schools and leading several initiatives to bridge the ever-more-critical digital divide.
In addition to lending laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots, your Library just announced MeckTech, an initiative that will distribute 5,000 locally refurbished laptops to eligible households with Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding from Mecklenburg County and in partnership with the County, Goodwill and others.
And just last week we received a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to partner with the Charlotte Digital Inclusion Alliance to provide free internet access to hundreds of households in the West Boulevard corridor. In addition to connectivity, residents will receive digital literacy training and the opportunity to become support technicians.
These initiatives – and others that preceded them – are possible because you believe in and support your Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. We are forever grateful for your friendship and your investment in the community we share. I hope you’ll join me (virtually, of course!) – and five New York Times best-sellers – to celebrate the importance and the joy of libraries at this year’s Verse & Vino on November 5.
Jenni Gaisbauer, CFRE