The San Diego Central Library, where outdoor computer labs are currently offered. Photo by Navid Serrano via Wikimedia Commons

Online resources for library users, including educators and workers in need of retraining, are being tapped more and more during the pandemic, according to the San Diego Public Library Foundation.

Foundation officials offered funding so that city communities could have free access to technology, resources, entertainment and other tools through the library.

Thus far:

  • Use of online free small business resources is up more than 70%

  • Use of online free resources for educators is up more than 58%

  • Log-ins for Gale Courses – interactive classes for workers that include accounting/finance, business, healthcare, teaching/education and technology – is up nearly 300% 

  • Circulation of library eBooks is up 133%

“As the effects of the pandemic continue to widen the digital divide, we are here to make sure that every resident of our city has access to technology, resources, information, and knowledge,” said Patrick Stewart, CEO at the San Diego Public Library Foundation.

Other services the library offers include free WiFi in library courtyards and parking lots,  and laptops to be checked out for temporary use in outdoor areas.

The outdoor computer labs are currently offered at eight sites, including the Central Library, and branches in City Heights, Linda Vista, Logan Heights and Valencia Park.

Officials plan program expansions as the new COVID-19 wave persists, adding tech services to more library branches and more laptops available for courtyard use.

“There are so many free, valuable resources available at your local library,” says Misty Jones, director of the San Diego Public Library. “We want to encourage all San Diego residents to take full advantage of the tools and resources that help both businesses and individuals alike.”

– Staff reports

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