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Millions of Americans Depend on Libraries for Internet. Now They’re Closed

The MarkUp: “Libraries are still just about the only place in America anyone can go and sit and use a computer and the internet without buying anything. All over the country, library closures during the pandemic have highlighted just how many people have no dependable source of internet on their own. According to a Pew survey published last year, less than two-thirds of Americans in rural areas have a broadband internet connection at home. Among Americans with household incomes below $30,000, four out of 10 don’t have a computer, and three out of 10 don’t have a smartphones. Digital disparities are particularly stark in rural areas, but even the most-connected cities aren’t immune. A survey by the New York City Bar Association last month found that only 6 percent of the city’s homeless shelters have internet access. On the first day of the New York City public school district’s remote-learning program, more than 20,000 school-age children were living in the city’s shelters, according to CityLimits…”

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