By Breeana Greenberg
The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday, Jan. 25, to authorize OC Public Libraries to accept Chromebooks and accessory kits from the California State Library and Southern California Library Cooperative as part of a larger effort to close the nation’s “digital divide.”
According to the American Library Association, $200 million of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan went to the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the federal Library Services and Technology Act.
The California State Library received nearly $1.88 million. The funds aim to bridge the digital divide—the gap between those with internet access or computers and those without—and create more digitally inclusive communities by providing library users with access to the internet from their homes.
Southern California Library Cooperative will purchase Chromebooks, laptop carrying cases, wipeable headsets, and wired mice for Orange County Public Libraries with the funds, valued at $38,000.
“Libraries are centers for digital access in their communities,” State Librarian Greg Lucas wrote in an early November press release. “There are 23,000 terminals in California’s 1,130 libraries and they’re being used all day, every day. These federal American Rescue Plan funds make it possible for more libraries to provide greater digital access by checking out Wi-Fi hotspots and laptops to Californians who need them.”
The Chromebooks and accessory kits will be shipped directly to the OC Public Libraries’ headquarters to be distributed to local branches.
Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org