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LET'S TALK LIBRARIES

A blog from the Southern Ontario Library Service

Connecting Families Bridges the Digital Divide in Canada

The Government of Canada’s Connecting Families initiative is investing $13.2 million over five years, from fall 2018 to March 2022, to help bridge the digital divide for Canadian families who may struggle to afford access to home Internet. A secure online portal will enable Canadian families who receive an eligibility letter to access high speed Internet service packages for $10 per month from participating Internet Service Providers. This initiative will also distribute up to 50,000 free refurbished desktop computers to eligible households through the Computers for Schools program. These efforts will ensure that more Canadian families and youth have access to the valuable resources available on the Internet and give them access to the tools they need.
Canadian libraries have been identified as key community partners, and major municipal and provincial libraries and networks have already expressed their enthusiasm for the initiative. The program is both a means of bridging the digital divide, and a great complement to the digital literacy training many libraries offer.
The not-for-profit Computers for Success Canada (https://cfsc-opec.org) has been contracted by the Government of Canada to help deliver the Connecting Families initiative. They would like to equip libraries to answer questions about the initiative and to accompany users through the online portal. To do so, they will be offering the following:
  1. A webinar on Nov 8, 2018, from 11am – 12pm, reviewing the initiative and explaining to library staff how to support patrons who need to access the secure online portal for this program. You can access the Google Hangout meeting at meet.google.com/pfp-svrm-mkm. Please mark your calendars!
  2. Materials: In November, each public library library will be receiving information and materials about the initiative. SOLS will distribute these posters and information guides via courier to eligible libraries, and all other SOLS libraries will receive these materials by Canada Post. There will also be digital versions of the materials.
  3. Online Information: A 5 minute online walk through of the portal is being developed, and will be accessible at any time (to be posted in the near future).

Please encourage one or more of your public service staff to attend this webinar. In the interim, if you have any questions,  contact me at any time.

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