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Library partners with nonprofit to bridge digital divide during pandemic

People using computers at KC library
Posted at 5:53 AM, Apr 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-23 07:36:12-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Organizations are teaming up to make it easier for people without internet access to get online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Kansas City Public Library is often a destination for people without computer or internet access.

The library normally sees several thousand computer log-ons each month, according to library spokesperson Talia Evans.

Stay-at-home orders have forced all branches of the library to close. While people can't go inside, they can still go to a library branch to get online.

"We've taken off our password from our WiFi so that anyone at anytime of the day could come to our parking lots and still use that free WiFi," Evans said.

Getting internet is one thing, having a computer to use it is another.

Connecting For Good provides discounted or free computers to people living on a low income.

The Kansas City nonprofit refurbishes donated computers and resells them.

In an effort to bridge the digital divide, the organization is partnering with the Kansas City Public Library and Kansas City Public Schools to make sure families are not offline during the pandemic.

"We brought a van filled with computers and we wound up distributing 80 computers to families who have kids in the Kansas City Public School District who were registered and approved to also receive a WiFi hotspot from the Kansas City Public Schools," explained Tom Esselman, CEO of Connecting For Good.

People who want to donate a device or need one can go to Connecting For Good's website.

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