Today, a somber scene is unfolding in low-income homes in vulnerable communities across the United States. Picture it, if you will.
Lacking access to digital technology to keep pace with her peers, a young girl abandons her passion for learning. Sometimes she makes it to a nearby fast food restaurant to get online. Sometimes she can find a ride to the library. But her responsibilities at home – in a single-parent family struggling to make ends meet –create overwhelming barriers that she can no longer carry.
Tired of feeling ashamed that she can’t complete required online projects, she pushes aside her love of math, her fascination with science, and her obsession with reading. Sadly, the bright light of her future is a little dimmer than it used to be.
But thanks to a new partnership between Cox Communications, the Public Library Association, and the Pima County Public Library, this scene will play less frequently in our community and children just like this girl will have the opportunity to compete and succeed in our digital world.
The partnership makes possible DigitalLearn.org, a web resource dedicated to helping people increase basic computer skills. Through videos and easy-to-use tutorials that are offered through the Pima County Public Library’s website at no cost, all families—regardless of income—can access the training and resources necessary to get ahead, whether in the classroom, at work, or beyond.
For nearly five years, Cox has committed itself to offering discounted internet service to students and their families who receive government assistance, including free or reduced school lunch through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In that time, nearly 200,000 people have been connected, many for the first time.
With this new partnership, it’s about more than just having access. It’s about knocking down barriers, opening doors, expanding horizons, and bringing the library into peoples’ homes.
And for the young girl about to give up on her dreams, it’s a lifeline.
Andrew Carnegie once said, “A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.”
Today’s libraries no longer limit learning to within our walls. With internet access, learning is available anytime and from anywhere. And with DigitalLearn.org, people are empowered to unlock digital literacy skills that are no longer a luxury, but a necessity, in our world.
Together, Cox Communications, the Public Library Association, and the Pima County Public Library are working to bridge the digital divide that leaves too many of our friends and neighbors behind. We believe a brighter, educated, connected future is possible for them—and for future generations.
In addition to www.digitallearn.org, Pima County Public Library offers free classes and online resources designed to help people bridge the digital divide. Visit www.library.pima.gov to learn more today.
For more information about Cox Communication and Connect2Compete, a program offering discounted internet service to families receiving government assistance, visit www.Connect2Compete.org/Cox or call (855) 222-3252.