Friends of Van Alstyne Library supports the local public library by raising funds for programs and improvements that the city would not otherwise afford.
The website we created for the Friends also highlights a program that is very dear to me. This program is called Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, and it aims to close the Digital Divide — specifically the Homework Gap.
People who live in cities may take high-speed internet for granted. Sadly, internet access in rural North Texas is far from universal. My own home is not even wired for DSL, much less Fios, and it’s not coming anytime soon. My home internet, a fixed wireless system provided by a private company, costs significantly more each month than my office DSL access in town. Plus, we had to pay hundreds of dollars to install the equipment at our home. Cellular data would cost even more and is not reliable in some parts of the country.
With such high initial and monthly costs, many of my neighbors with school-age children simply cannot afford to have internet access at home. These kids are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to doing research, completing homework assignments, and collaborating with their peers. Our library has a great computer lab and free Wi-Fi, but being a student is not a 9-5 job, and libraries are not open 24/7.
The Friends is working on a solution: Free Wi-Fi hotspots for students in need. For more information or to make a donation, please visit FriendsofVAlibrary.com.