The 2023 Lucas County Digital Equity Gap Analysis survey, commissioned by the Library and conducted by BGSU’s Center for Regional Development, makes clear that a significant portion of Lucas County (up to 30,000 households) lacks essential technology for full participation in our digital society. These households face challenges in online job applications, connecting with service providers, accessing educational resources, and more.
To address this equity issue, the Library launched Tech Shelf, a digital equity store. This initiative aligns with the Library’s goal of ensuring technology access for all Lucas County residents, promoting inclusivity and equal opportunities in education, employment, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement.
The technology offered in Tech Shelf, which is 100% donor-funded, will move between targeted “hotspot” locations within the Library system—these are communities with identified needs based on government assistance, low median household incomes, and the gap analysis results. The store will offer both refurbished and new technology, including laptops and tablets, on a sliding scale based on income and household size. Staff will assist community members in selecting technology that aligns with the customer’s objectives and needs.
This initiative aims to provide technology directly to individuals and families who need it to navigate our increasingly online world and bridge the digital divide.
Help us bridge the digital divide!