Bexar County and the San Antonio Independent School District on Tuesday celebrated the opening of the fourth BiblioTech library, this one on the downtown Fox Tech campus, saying its main purpose is to give students access to Internet and opportunities they might not have otherwise.
The Nelson and Tracy Wolff BiblioTech EDU Library will be open to students and campus staff during class hours. After 3:00 p.m., the library will be open to the general public until 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
On weekends, the BiblioTech will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“This is what I would call an interim step toward a full deal,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said of how the new facility will help bridge the digital divide plaguing parts of the county. from Bexar.
“Even when you get the full package there will always be people who want to come and study and learn how to use the technology… access the information, the books that are available to them. Even though they have the [internet] access, how do they use it? »
Wolff said internet access for all is still several years away, but for now BiblioTech will be “a big help,” he said.
SAISD Administrator Patti Radle told the San Antonio report that the district is always working to ensure students have access to the digital world, but access to school alone is not enough.
“They could be here and have it, but they also go home and they don’t,” Radle said. “How wonderful that we have a center like this that is so accessible to them and also after school hours.
“It’s still very difficult in areas of poverty to maintain access, so an effort like this is very, very important to us,” she said.
Radle noted that even homeless people could access BiblioTech.
The fourth BiblioTech location at 626 N Flores St. is in an area where up to three-quarters of residents don’t have internet access, according to the latest Health Collaborative report.
BiblioTech was funded by the county and several community organizations, including the Najim Charitable Foundation, Charles Butt Foundation, Toyota and many others.
“These libraries are a resource that puts a world of learning within reach for anyone with the passion and desire to pursue their career dreams, complete high school, or simply escape into a world of literature” said Susann Kazunas, vice president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas.
Harvey Najim told the large crowd gathered for the opening that 30% of Bexar County’s population lacks education, employment, housing and food security.
Marina Alderete Gavito, executive director of SA Digital Connects, a broad coalition of public, private and community partners working to bridge the digital divide, told the San Antonio report that Bibliotech will help 20% of San Antonio households access the internet.
“It’s necessary because connecting all these households won’t happen overnight, so the launch of BiblioTech Edu is a big step forward,” she said. “For people who can’t get online for whatever reason, this will help them tremendously – and in parallel we’ll be working to connect every home to the internet.”
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