Two computer users, divided by a red line.

Redlining Takes Digital Form: How Can Libraries Help?

Historically, redlining refers to the practice of banks using maps to withhold loans for certain areas, usually poor communities of people of color. Now redlining takes digital form as Internet Service Providers (ISPs) get to choose where to build their networks and what types of plans are available. In today’s society, a reliable internet connection is a necessity, often required for job applications, scheduling travel, connecting with others, online education, and more recently working remotely from home. Those without an affordable high speed internet plan are at a distinct disadvantage, and communities with limited ISP options will again face obstacles for growth. Poor communities, often people of color, are being denied options for reliable internet plans when compared to white communities in the same area.

American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and Institute of Museum and Library Services Logo

ARPA Pulls Through for Library Funding and Broadband Assistance

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) featured stimulus checks, extended unemployment benefits, and funds COVID-19 vaccines. It also provides $200 million in funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). In addition to supporting the IMLS, ARPA also included additional provisions for broadband assistance, such as funds to be appropriated towards schools and libraries to support remote learning.