Bridging Long Beach’s Digital Divide
Like many, we were dismayed to learn that 1 in 4 Long Beach households still lacks an adequate portal to the Internet. According to the Long Beach Media Collaborative‘s recent report, 1 in 6 Long Beach residents are not connected to the Internet at all. “And proportionately fewer households are connected in Long Beach than in neighboring cities such as Carson, Downey, Lakewood and Torrance.” In response, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia stated, “The digital divide is real. It exists in the country. And it certainly exists in Long Beach.”
Last week, the Long Beach Media Collaborative, a joint project of the Long Beach Press Telegram, the Long Beach Post, the Grunion Gazette and the Long Beach Business Journal, published an article outlining how poor access is for some Long Beach residents. The findings are startling.
While we knew the demand for Internet and computer access in our libraries was high– in 2016, the library served 1.2 million people and 5.4 million library resources were accessed, many of which were online—we had no idea our great city lagged so far behind in terms of access.
Whether you are a student doing homework, an adult looking for a job, a parent seeking out family resources, or a senior researching your health, the Internet is a vital tool in the 21st century.
This makes the free services that the Long Beach Public Library offers, and our work at the Long Beach Public Library Foundation, even more critical. The Long Beach Public Library is one of this city’s best resources in bridging this digital divide.
The Long Beach Public Library Foundation is committed to supporting our city’s 12 libraries in bridging the digital divide, by funding:
- 12 Family Learning Centers equipped with computer labs and staffed by skilled Learning Guides who are prepared to teach patrons computer skills and help with homework and resumes;
- Studio makerspaces at the Main and Michelle Obama Neighborhood Libraries with technology and instruction in 3D printing, graphic design, robotics, video game design, engineering and other marketable skills;
- and adaptive technology for those with disabilities to make the Internet accessible to all patrons including seniors, the disabled and injured veterans.
Infographic by the Long Beach Media Collaborative.
Read the entire Long Beach Media Collaborative article, Click Here.