I was honored to dedicate and take a tour of the new state-of-the-art $9 million public library in downtown Brisbane Saturday, October 24. San Mateo County provided $2 million in funding for the project. It’s believed to be the first library in California to be dedicated since the COVID pandemic started in March and will offer free Wi-Fi.
When this project first started there was no such thing as COVID. But this disruption is an opportunity to reimagine library services and to bridge the digital divide for students in distant learning and job seekers who do not have access to technology. The future of libraries will have to be seamlessly both physical and digital. Even while libraries have closed during this pandemic, they have offered digital collections, video-conference book clubs and webinars. These new virtual ways of connecting and learning will be a necessity in the changing library landscape.
The pandemic has shifted society increasingly online, but virtual working, learning, and job-seeking platforms do not accommodate everyone. Almost half of low-income adults do not have home broadband services or access to a traditional computer.
People with digital literacy and access are at a significant advantage.
This new library can equip job seekers and students with the digital skills and literacy to ensure they are competitive in a rapidly changing workforce and school environment as we return to normalcy from COVID.
David Canepa serves on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors representing Brisbane.