Bridging the Digital Divide

BRIDGING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE PROGRAM

The goal of the program is to bridge the digital divide separating those who can and can’t afford technology by loaning devices and rocket hubs (wifi access) to those who need these items the most. 

Fifty devices and rocket hubs are now available for loan.  A program referral is required - see media release below for full details and a list of referral agencies.


Media Release - Issued November, 2020

The Thunder Bay Public Library’s Bridging the Digital Divide - Access for Those Who Need it Most program has received funding from the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund, the Thunder Bay Community Foundation and the United Way of Thunder Bay in the amount of $23,800.  

In addition, the Library was also approved for a separate grant program called Working in Partnership to Bridge the Digital Divide, which was also supported by the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund, the Thunder Bay Community Foundation and the United Way of Thunder Bay in the amount of $69,700.

The goal of these programs is to bridge the digital divide separating those who can and can’t afford technology by loaning devices and rocket hubs (wifi access) to those who need these items the most.  The devices can be used to connect people to online health care services, family & friends, job searching, accessing online books and other media, taking part in at-home schooling, counselling, viewing local and international news and more.

TBPL is working with 20 community partners to loan this technology to those identified with the greatest need. Given the continued uncertainty of how a second wave of COVID-19 infections will impact our region - and the rest of the world - digital access is imperative and is now an urgent need for everyone, but particularly for members of marginalized communities.  While this program was prompted by the immediate impacts of COVID-19, the Library understands that technology loan programs like this will be needed well beyond the end of the pandemic. The program will also help to deliver on the Library’s strategic objective of mitigating the impact of poverty and homelessness, as identified in the Library’s 2019-2023 Strategic Plan.

tablet and rocket hubFifty devices and rocket hubs are now available for loan starting on Monday, November 9, 2020.  The first clients referred to the program are from NorWest Community Health Centres as part of their IT Prescription program and also from Thunder Bay Counselling.  

TBPL has a long history of loaning items to people, so this makes us ideally positioned to work with a wide variety of social service agencies and partner organizations to help ensure that their clients have access to the technology that they need. The Library is also used to teaching people how to use computers and other devices and will be offering instruction guides and technology coaching along the way.

For those who relied on places like TBPL for social supports  (a social determinant of health) and digital access, the forced isolation of COVID-19 has had an even greater impact on their health. This project will provide a virtual lifeline, potentially improving patrons’ emotional, mental and physical health.  We are grateful for the support of the Government of Canada’s Emergency Community Support Fund, the Thunder Bay Community Foundation and the United Way of Thunder Bay.

Contact:   Tina Maronese - 807-630-5664 - tmaronese@tbpl.ca


For more information, please connect with a Community Partner agency or with the Library at 345-8275 / virtual@tbpl.ca

The confirmed list of partners to date are:

  • Alzheimer’s Society of Thunder Bay
  • Anishinabek Employment and Training Services
  • Brain Injury Services Northern Ontario
  • Canadian Mental Health Association
  • Catholic Family Development Centre
  • Community Living Thunder Bay
  • Crossroads Centre
  • Elevate Northwest
  • Elizabeth Fry Society NWO
  • Hospice Northwest
  • Injured Workers Support Group
  • John Howard Society
  • Kinna Aweya Legal Clinic
  • Lakehead Social Planning Council
  • March of Dimes
  • Metis Nation of Thunder Bay
  • New Directions Speakers School  
  • North Superior Workforce Planning Board
  • NorWest Community Health Centres
  • Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy
  • Our Kids Count
  • Roots to Harvest
  • Shkoday
  • Thunder Bay Counselling
  • Thunder Bay Literacy Group
  • Yes Employment Services

 

The Library is open to working with other community partners as well.  Please contact Tina Maronese at 684-6813 / tmaronese@tbpl.ca to indicate your interest.