SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Live Oak Public Libraries now offers open access to public Chromebook computers and internet connection.

With a mission to help meet the community where they are, the library system’s increase in technology initiative works to decrease the digital divide.

Live Oak Public Libraries as awarded 25 Chromebook devices as part of the Georgia Public Library Service’s (GPLS) Libraries Without Walls grant initiative. Of the 62 public library systems in Georgia, Live Oak Public Libraries ranks third for the number of public internet access devices available to customers.

Director of Library Experiences Robyn Saint-Paen told WSAV NOW in spite of the pandemic, the libraries hosted over 100,000 computer sessions over the past year.

“This was still when we were closed, but people still needed access, and on top of that, we also saw an increase in wireless access and that is almost 300,000, 300,000 customers accessing our wireless to stay connected,” said Saint-Paen.

“This past year, with the focus shifting to greater reliance on virtual interactions, certainly brought more attention to the disparity between those who have access to computers and the internet and those who do not,” said Library Executive Director David Singleton.

Saint-Paen said many library patrons take advantage of the wireless internet and computers for job readiness, and to stay connected with family and friends. 

“We are happy that we were able to meet that need,” Saint Paen added.

“By lending these devices, the library is helping to meet the needs of the community through increased access to technology,” Singleton said.

“The community is happy that we are now.” Saint-Paen said even with minor restrictions in place this new access to technology will put some patrons at ease.

To borrow a Chromebook, individuals must be 18 years or older with a valid library card and state identification. Devices can be checked out for a maximum period of three days and must be returned from the same library from which they were borrowed. 

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