In a world of Google and Amazon, libraries rethink their role

More information is available online than ever. Libraries are stepping in to make sure everyone can access it.

Close-Up Of Books By Laptop On Table

Not everyone has access to tech resources many take for granted, including laptops and an internet connection. That’s where libraries can help.
Chnit Siri Kan Ti N Cheiynghim / Getty Images

One night a few years ago, Tony Marx was closing up a Bronx library when he noticed a kid sitting on the steps. The boy was pecking away on the oldest laptop Marx had ever seen. Puzzled, Marx asked him what he was doing.

The boy told Marx he was doing his math homework. The assignment was online and the boy’s family couldn’t afford broadband at home. So the youngster camped out on the library stoop to pick up its leaked signal.

“Holy moly,” Marx, the president and CEO of the New York Public Library, remembers thinking. “‘In the information capital of the world, this kid can’t do the math homework we want him to do to succeed.'”

Since then, the NYPL has rolled out a host of services aimed at closing the digital divide, which is exactly what it sounds like: the gap between those who can easily get online and those who can’t.

Read the whole article by Abrar Al-Heeti on cnet.com.