Bridging the digital divide

We are a tech-based society yet 31 million adults in our country don’t have access to the internet at home according to Elizabeth Lindsey of Byte Back.

We are a tech-based society because we need the internet to apply to work at fast-food restaurants and other national chains. are a tech-based society because we need the internet to complete homework assignments. Pew Research stated that 9 to 24% of U.S. teens were unable to complete homework due to lack of a reliable computer or internet connection.

We are a tech-based society because we need the internet to file income taxes, gain access to medical records and to stay connected to family and friends in this increasingly mobile society.

We are a tech-based society because, in 2020, the U.S. Census survey will be completed online. The census provides critical data that lawmakers, business owners, teachers and many others use to provide daily services, products and support for the community. Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding go to hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads and other resources based on census data. The census data also determines the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives, and it is used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.

A total of 30% of rural Americans don’t have fixed broadband access and mobile broadband is not a substitute even when it’s available. The digital divide is real, but libraries build a bridge across the divide. HML provides free high speed internet, safe, secure computers and technology training.

In 2020, HML will provide a dedicated computer station for people to complete the 10 minute census survey. Staff will be trained to assist and private information will be protected. Please tell your friends, your neighbors, your employees and your family.

Library Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.

Tina Winstead is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Monday. Her columns may also be found online at www.thedailystar.com/community/library_corner.

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