Bridging the Digital Divide in the St. Louis Region-Part I

Nearly half of households in St. Louis City and County are impacted by at least one aspect of the digital divide. The St. Louis Digital Divide is best understood by examining and addressing five key components any of which can prevent an individual or family from adequate connectivity. The components are 1) coverage; 2) quality; 3) service affordability; 4) device affordability; and, 5) digital literacy and mentoring.

Amelia Bond, CEO of The St. Louis Community Foundation, and Kristen Sorth, Director and CEO of the St. Louis County Library joined the conversation to discuss the report and provide ways to address the challenge that has been identified. Coordination and investment from local leaders and unprecedented federal funding uniquely position St. Louis to address the digital divide and ensure that all St. Louisans have the opportunity to thrive in an increasingly digital society.

[00:23] Introductions

[01:45] What is the digital divide?

[03:15] Why now?

[06:15] Library assistance educators, parents, and students during the pandemic

[10:29] The Internet and access to the Internet Comparision to Electricity

  • 25% to 30% of households in the City of St. Louis do not have a computer

[12:50] Who should be involved in helping remediate the issue?

[14:02] Obstacles or pushback?

  • Need is great-urban, suburban, and rural
  • Schools and students
  • Families for entertainment and education

[18:47] Do we have the will to get this done?

  • A brief history of the study
  • Funding is available
  • Momentum and focus

[20:58] Not just an educational issue/problem

[22:24] Libraries are important now more than ever

[24:41] Thoughts on the dispersal of funds

[26:35] Invest in long-term solutions

[27:35] Coordination with leaders in the area

[28:37] Final thoughts

This is Season 5! For more episodes, go to stlintune.com

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