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New Marin City Library Program Helps Kids Learn on the Internet

Trevor Steinbaugh, left, and his mom, Tensy Botto connects to the internet using a library-issued laptop and a Wi-Fi hotspot device at the Marin City Library. The library has launched a new program to help kids without access to the internet. Courtesy County of Marin

A new program at the Marin City Library is helping a group of students learn by providing free access to the internet.

Marin City Library staff members have set up the mobile “hotspot” devices allowing internet access for students who do not have computer equipment at home. The hotspots give the students Wi-Fi internet access anywhere where they can receive cellular reception.

In coordination with nearby Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, library staffers started offering the hotspots to about a dozen students, some of whom are using notebook laptops loaned by the library branch.

“This will allow students to combat the summer slide and take advantage of educational opportunities we offer at the library,” said Sara Jones, director of the Marin County Free Library, which is overseeing the project.

The hotspot devices are on extended loan to the initial group of students through the summer and the first three months of the school year. The hotspots will then be offered on a rotating basis for the life of the one-year grant.

“This is a pilot program and only certain kids qualify to take part in it,” said Etienne Douglas, a library employee who runs the WebStars program. “The principal identified kids who were in a certain academic range, didn’t have internet at home and had a library card with no fines on it.”

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