Rochester Public Library Expands Connected Chromebook Program

The Rochester Public Library offers long-term borrowing of Internet-enabled Chromebooks, aimed at meeting the educational needs of community members without adequate broadband access.

A grant of $ 619,000 received in September enabled the library to purchase 1,000 Chromebooks with data connection under the Federal Communications Commission Emergency Connectivity Fund program.

Federal officials say the program is helping bridge the digital divide.

“These devices provide crucial Internet service to families and individuals who need to connect to online educational resources,” said library director Audrey Betcher.

Library staff partnered with local organizations for the first Chromebook distribution cycle to identify those who need essential online access.

“We first started this program with nonprofits, government agencies and schools that helped identify people in need of access, and we are now ready to offer them more widely,” he said. said Betcher.

Starting Wednesday, residents of Olmsted County have the option of borrowing Chromebooks for a long-term payment that lasts until June 30. To be eligible for the program, individuals must meet the following conditions:

  • Lack of sufficient internet access
  • Need a connected device primarily to meet educational needs
  • Are not currently receiving internet service through any other state or federal program
  • Participants must bring photo ID and proof of address if they do not already have a library card.

Anyone who is not sure if they meet the requirements can contact the library.

“We want to help people get the resources they need,” Betcher said. “Even though community members are not eligible for this program, we can often find other resources to support people. “

More information about the Connected Chromebook program is available at the library during regular hours, or by contacting library staff by phone (507-329-2309) or email ([email protected]).

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