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Local News

North Riverside library gets grant to eliminate 'digital divide'

NORTH RIVERSIDE — The North Riverside Public Library is one of 15 Illinois libraries that recently received part of a $400,000 grant designed to enhance residents' broadband computer access.

The North Riverside facility's share is almost $25,000, said library director Robert J. Lifka.

Lifka said the library's goal is to eliminate the "digital divide," or the economic inequality between groups in terms of access to, use of or knowledge of information and communication technologies. Factors contributing to the digital divide include race, gender, geography, economics and education.

The library plans to combat the digital divide by upgrading its eight public access computers and offering instruction in computer use. Instruction will begin with basic computer skills and lead to how to use those skills to find a job.

"People cannot walk into a business and apply for a job by filling out a paper application anymore," Lifka said. "You have to apply online."

In addition to funding the new computers, the grant also will pay for laptops to be used for one-on-one instruction, additional bandwidth to increase the speed of the library's network and the salaries of part-time instructors.

There is no fee to use public computers at the North Riverside Public Library, but patrons must have a library card or another form of ID.

For information, call 708-447-0869. The North Riverside Public Library is located at 2400 S. DesPlaines Ave.

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