St. Louis County Library to Provide 1,000 Free Chromebooks to Eligible Residents
St. Louis County Library has received funding from the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) to provide 1,000 internet connected Chromebooks to eligible residents. The devices come preloaded with unlimited data through June 30, 2024. Any resident in the St. Louis County Library District is eligible to apply, particularly those who lack the equipment and services to access the internet. Applications will be accepted through SLCL’s website September 19 through October 1, 2023 at www.slcl.org/chromebooks.
Kristen Sorth, St. Louis County Library Director & CEO said, “Families and kids in our community need technology at home to live life to the fullest, with reliable and convenient access to the internet for both information, education and fun. Digital equity has been a priority for St. Louis County Library for many years. This funding will continue those efforts, by providing internet connected Chromebooks to those who need it most and where they need it most. We are honored to continue to help bridge the digital divide in our region.”
Additional Program Information
- The Chromebooks will come with a free mobile internet connection through June 30, 2024.
- The internet content is filtered to comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act.
- St. Louis County Library cannot replace lost or damaged devices and chargers.
- Applications will be accepted from any age. Parents/guardians of individuals younger than 18 must be listed on the application.
- You do not need to have a St. Louis County Library card to apply.
- You must be a resident of the St. Louis County Library District.
The St. Louis Digital Divide report, commissioned by the St. Louis Community Foundation and the Regional Business Council in 2022, found that around 150,000 households in St. Louis and St. Louis County struggle to afford high-speed internet. The report also found that approximately 90,000 households are unable to afford adequate devices. Currently, there are over 560 holds for wi-fi hotspots at SLCL, and 630 holds for the Chromebook + hotspot kits.
SLCL has worked to address digital equity in our region for several years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, SLCL provided 3,000 GrandPad devices to older adults and helped support local students by providing 6,100 Chromebooks, 10,000 wi-fi hotspots, and virtual and in-person tutoring services. Additionally, SLCL provides free wi-fi and public computers at all branch locations, computer and technology classes are also available, along with one-on-one assistance from a lab trainer.
All applicants will be notified by October 6, 2023. Those individuals awarded a device will be able to pick up the Chromebook at the SLCL branch designated on their application. The Chromebooks do not need to be returned to the Library, recipients can keep the device to use indefinitely, however internet access will end on June 30, 2024.
The ECF is a $7 billion program through the Federal Communications Commission that helps schools and libraries provide the tools and services their communities need to access the internet.
Media inquiries should be directed to Jennifer McBride, SLCL Assistant Director, Communications at 314-994-3300 ext 2250 or email@example.com.