During the COVID-19 pandemic, people everywhere are turning to the web for school, work, and community—but for the 33 million U.S. households without a home internet connection, getting online isn’t so simple. Since lockdown began in March 2020, libraries have gotten creative to promote digital equity and access; supporting the American Library Association (ALA) is a powerful way to ensure that even more people in need can get online.
Americans have long relied on their libraries for access to the internet. When COVID-19 first hit the United States early this year, libraries sprung into action to keep their communities connected even when their doors were closed to the public. Many libraries loaned out mobile hotspot devices to those in need, and an amazing 93% of libraries reported leaving their Wi-Fi on so that people could connect to the internet from their parked cars. Plus, librarians have been sharing their technological expertise with their communities, offering personalized assistance to those who need help navigating digital access during the pandemic.
Throughout this unprecedented year, the American Library Association has been hard at work advocating for libraries to get the resources they need to continue bridging the digital divide. Thanks to ALA and other library advocates, the U.S. Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act included $50 million of funding to the Institute of Museum and Library Services for digital inclusion projects. And looking ahead, ALA will continue to push for a federal COVID relief package that includes much-needed funding for our nation’s libraries.
You can help make internet access for all a reality by donating to ALA. Your gift will support training, resources, and advocacy for libraries to champion digital equity in their communities.