Kansas City Public Library has 900 Google Chromebook portable computers available for checkout free of charge. All you have to have is a library card. The portable computers are fully equipped with built-in wifi internet and 4G LTE mobile data for internet access anywhere.
The program is being provided as a way to bridge the digital divide in the Kansas City community.
In a study from mySidewalk, nearly 11% of Kansas City households do not have access to the internet and 8% of households do not have a computer. Of the city’s six council districts, the third district – with a majority African American population – ranks first in the city with 21% of homes without access to the internet and 17% without a computer at home.
Joel Jones, a spokesperson for Kansas City Public library, said the computers will be beneficial to anyone in the community who might need reliable access to the internet to apply for jobs, pay bills, or for students who need the internet for class work.
“It’s a tremendous service for anyone who might need broadband access,” Jones said. “Imagine how your life would change if you didn’t have reliable internet access. Just like electricity or running water, reliable broadband needs to be accessible.”
The Chromebooks, part of the library’s Tech-to-Go program, can be checked out for a 21-day period with no renewals. Patrons are encouraged to place holds on laptops since demand is expected to be high.
Also part of the Tech-to-Go program, the library also offers check out of 300 wifi hotspots for anyone only in need of internet access.
Information on library resources and digital services that are accessible to library patrons will be loaded onto each computer.
Funding for the laptops came from the $850,000 dollars in Federal Emergency Connectivity funding, included in the American Rescue Plan.
For more information, call 816.701.3400 or visit here.