During the COVID-19 pandemic, you might have heard about school children sitting outside fast food restaurants to access the internet so they could do their homework over Zoom. Or someone’s elderly, sick relative needing to arrange a telehealth visit, but lacking internet access or a digital device to do so.
The pandemic revealed the stark divide between those with and those without reliable digital technology. There are still many families whose homes aren’t hooked up to the internet or who rely on slow dial-up services.
Nationally, efforts are underway to bridge the digital gap. The National Digital Inclusion Alliance, an organization committed to digital equity, identified five elements of digital inclusion.
- Affordable, robust broadband internet service
- Internet-enabled devices that meet the needs of the user
- Access to digital literacy training
- Quality technical support
- Applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation and collaboration
Get Connected at the Library
The need is real in Mid-Missouri, and your local public library provides you with services to help bridge the digital gap. At the library, we often help patrons who have never used a computer apply for jobs or set up a laptop for the first time. Others have come in to get help building their résumés, to practice their keyboarding skills and to learn how to use their smartphones or tablets.
Take advantage of the digital services at the libraries in Ashland, Columbia, Fulton and Holts Summit:
- Free Wi-Fi access
- Computers for word processing, internet access or using online library resources
- Printing, faxing and scanning services
- Mobile Wi-Fi hotspots to borrow for home use
- Technology classes
- Drop-in and one-on-one tech help
- STEAM kits for kids to borrow
To use most of our services, you will need a free Daniel Boone Regional Library card. You can apply for one online or at any library location or bookmobile stop.
While efforts continue to get more people connected to high-speed internet across the country, DBRL is here to help everyone in Boone and Callaway Counties gain confidence and achieve parity in the digital world of the 21st century.