The Washington Parish Library has received $47,064 through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) who awarded $3,012,150 to the State Library of Louisiana. This legislation and grant provide a source of one-time funding to close the “digital divide” between rural residents and those in areas that have traditional, wired service.
Library Director Allison Barron said, “The intent behind the program is to put the internet where it is not present” in select areas of the parish. A further goal is to get devices in the hands of learners and internet users in their own communities. Likely candidate areas for partnerships for hosting a hotspot for public use include Mount Hermon, Clifton, Pine, Varnado, Hackley and Angie, with other sites considered.
In the last year, the Washington Parish Library has circulated hotspots and has recently expanded its wireless range. Mrs. Etta Magee, Assistant Director and Network Administrator for the library, has expanded the wireless printing capability in the library. Library users now are only required, if they use Apple, to turn on Wi-Fi and select the printer to print. Android users need to have the HP Print App. The library has allowed for checkout laptops in the past under the BTOP grant in the past, but this time, hotspots will be available to allow access the Internet.
“Public libraries are essential to the well-being of our entire state and provide critical access points for Louisianans to obtain the information and services that they need to thrive and succeed. This has never been more true than during the current pandemic which has exposed the vulnerability of many of our citizens and their lack of internet access, as well as the degree to which they rely upon in-person and online assistance and access to life changing information provided by their public libraries,“ said State Librarian Rebecca Hamilton. “This funding will provide additional relief to our parish public libraries, who have reached far beyond the walls of their libraries, deep into their communities to ensure that they have what they need the most right now--access to information, technology, and broadband.”
For more information on the Washington Parish Library, on resources related to COVID-19, or to view our current programming, visit washingtonparishlibrary.info or call any branch: Franklinton at 839-7805, Thomas at 848-7061, Bogalusa at 735-1961, or Enon at 839-9385.