As we struggle with the impacts of COVID-19, the San José Public Library has adjusted its focus and pivoted to an increasingly online world. Simultaneously, SJPLF is working hard to ensure that social distancing does not exacerbate inequities in education or the local economy.
A key element of the Library’s response to the pandemic is SJ Access, a City of San José initiative aimed at closing the digital divide in a time of distance learning and working from home. SJ Access provides residents and students with access to reliable internet service, free Wi-Fi, digital literacy programs, and more to help our city get connected.
Through special partnerships and SJPL’s Wi-Fi Hotspot program, the City has enabled 12,800 student households to connect to distance learning programs — and 3,000 additional hotspots are now available for checkout at the Library.
Meanwhile, Access East Side provides free internet in the neighborhoods surrounding James Lick and Overfelt High Schools. This program will soon expand to other schools within the East Side Union High School District as part of a broader effort to use libraries, parks, schools, and community centers as Wi-Fi hubs to expand digital access equitably throughout San José.
SJ Access is just one of the programs supported by donations to the Library Foundation. Visit our website at sjplf.org to learn more about our impact.
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The past year has presented more challenges than many of us have faced in a lifetime. Now more than ever, libraries play a critical role in maintaining our social fabric, expanding access to information, and providing tools and resources so that every member of our community has an opportunity to thrive.