As part of its commitment to fostering digital equity and inclusion throughout Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) is expanding its popular Tech2go Computer Bundle program. This program allows patrons to borrow a laptop and mobile Wi-Fi hotspot with unlimited data for free from the library for a six-month period, and is expanding to all 73 of the Library’s locations with more than 5,000 new bundles becoming available in the weeks ahead.
In early 2022, after applying for and receiving $1.7 million in Emergency Connectivity Funds from the Federal Communications Commission, LAPL launched the computer bundle program. Now, the Library sought and was awarded an additional $5.3 million from the Emergency Connectivity Fund to continue and expand the program. The Library is helping Angelenos get online from anywhere.
“The Los Angeles Public Library has always strived to serve the needs of this wonderful city, and recently, many of those needs have been centered on digital equity and inclusion,” said City Librarian John F. Szabo. “The popularity and success of our Tech2go computer bundles prove that we are on the right track. We know that by expanding this program, we are able to help many more Angelenos thrive in today’s digital age.”
This program was initially launched earlier this year at 27 libraries, and almost all of those 2,000 bundles have been in circulation since the program’s launch. Of the 5,000 new bundles, many have already been delivered to libraries and are available to be borrowed with additional bundles to be ready in early 2023.
“Like our public libraries, the Internet opens doors of knowledge and opportunity,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Thanks to APPLes expansion of Tech2Go, Angelenos can use their library cards to access not just job and educational opportunities, but connections with their loved ones across the world.”
Prior to launching the computer bundle program, patrons could borrow wireless hotspots from select libraries across the city. That program continues today, thanks in part to $2 million in CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) Act funds. Since the Library began loaning mobile hotspots in 2017, data has shown that 61% of patrons who borrowed them did not already have internet access at home. Additionally, in 71% of households that borrow a hotspot, more than two people utilize it while 23% of households see four or more people using the device.
“We know that this access is tremendously impactful for families,” said Szabo. “Having the resources to get online means having the tools to succeed.”
The Los Angeles Public Library serves the largest and most diverse urban population of any library in the nation. Its Central Library, 72 branch libraries, collection of more than eight million books, state-of-the art technology accessible at lapl.org, and diverse programs provide everyone with free and easy access to information and the opportunity for lifelong learning.