The library system is planning to lend wireless hotspot devices to visitors in need of connectivity.

Back before everyone had a computer at home, work and in their pocket, many people relied on their local libraries for an Internet connection. Even now, in more remote parts of the United States, libraries are still the fastest way to connect online. As these institutions lose funding and shut down, the access to this necessary service is often limited in disadvantaged communities. Even in New York City, many families can’t afford the cost of web access.

The New York Public Library has devised a way help the underserved in their community get wireless service. Thanks to a $500,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which focuses on education and fostering the arts, the library will be giving out wireless hotspots for home use.

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