LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With just five days left in his term, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti held a press conference Tuesday to announce the expansion of the Los Angeles Public Library's Tech2Go bundle program.
"There's somebody waiting to be the next big something, to graduate from school, or maybe to get the treatment from a doctor they need to save their lives," said Garcetti. "But, we shouldn't let people suffer, their health, shouldn't let their education outcomes or the economic opportunity suffer simply because they don't have a laptop or internet connection. Not in 2022."
The program allows library users to take home laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots with unlimited data for long-term use. Without access, it's difficult to apply for jobs or for students to do homework. Librarians said this is a crucial step to closing the digital equity gap.
"I think that internet access is a human right in this modern age," said Bich Ngoc Cao, the president of the Los Angeles Board of Library Commissioners. "There's just so many different ways that this Tech2Go bundle can help people."
Thanks to federal funding, 5,000 bundles will be added to the current 2,000, bringing the total to 7,000 bundles dispersed across all 73 public library locations. Families will be able to rent a bundle for up to six months at a time.
"We find that 71% of the people that check these out, there are two or more people in the home and 23% there are over four people in the home," said John Szbo, the city librarian for Los Angeles Public Library. "So it's really a way of serving not just one person, but an entire household."
The computer bundles are available to be checked out by adults with a library card who are in good standing.
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