The Seattle Public Library Helps Close the Digital Equity Gap by Loaning Wi-fi Hot Spots to 50 Seattle World School Families
release date: 08/21/2020
Thanks to a grant from the Seattle Public Library Foundation, The Seattle Public Library has loaned Wi-Fi hot spots to 50 families who have children enrolled at The Seattle World School. The Library, partnered with Kandelia (formerly the Vietnamese Friendship Association), is also supporting these families by distributing learning kits that include books and other resources. The families received the hot spots and learning kits during the first two weeks of August and will keep the hot spots for the duration of the school year.
The Seattle World School, located at 1700 Union St. in Seattle, is a culturally and linguistically diverse school in the Seattle Public Schools district. It serves more than 300 immigrant and refugee secondary students, ages 11-20. The Seattle World School is one of only a few schools in the country designed as a preliminary entry point for immigrant children, and helps them in their quest for academic achievement and full participation in American society.
“The goal of the partnership is to support remote learning and access to critical information during the pandemic for immigrant and refugee students and families who are also experiencing housing insecurity,” said Ayan Adem, student success manager at The Seattle Public Library. “Seattle World School families are among those most affected by COVID-19.”
“At Kandelia, our mission is to remove barriers to opportunities so immigrant and refugee communities can flourish without compromising values, heritage or ethnicity. In these unprecedented times, we also need to remove barriers for our community to live and survive,” said Tamthy Le, associate director of Kandelia. “Working together, we are able to combine skills and resources to make an impact far greater than we could by working alone. We are grateful to all our community partners, specifically The Seattle Public Library, for supporting our students and providing access to technology, internet, and more.”
The families will also receive instruction in their home language on using the hot spots. The learning kits include books selected for English language learners, Student Success resources, school supplies such as pencils and notebooks, and resources for adult learners.
The hot spots are part of the Library’s pioneering SPL HotSpot loan program, which now has an inventory of 1,050 hot spots – 675 available to any Library cardholder for 21 days, and 375 loaned on a long-term basis to communities impacted by the digital divide. When the Library closed its physical locations, the checkout period for hot spots in circulation was extended.
The Library is offering other services to students and individuals in need of support. Seattle Public Schools students can access all digital Library resources through Library Link; connect to remote learning resources; explore high-interest topics through Exploration Guides; and participate in Summer of Learning programs. Individuals facing challenges related to job loss can make a one-on-one appointment (by phone or online) through Your Next Job. The Library has posted COVID-19 community resources on its website.