Las Vegas Valley libraries to offer smart phones to low-income residents

Cindy F. Cape

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Libraries in the Las Vegas Valley have secured a grant to lend smart phones to low-income residents or people experiencing homelessness.

According to a news release, as part of the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s Cell Phone Lending Program, individuals can access a phone that comes pre-loaded with Library District apps with educational resources as well as social and community services.

The release states that the Library District purchased 380 Moto G Pure phones, with cases, from T-Mobile through a $200,000 grant provided by the Federal 2021 LSAT ARP Act through Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Nevada State Library.

According to the release, the Library District worked with the Nevada Homeless Aliance and the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth, who selected individuals to participate in the 18-month Cell Phone Lending Program. The initiative launched April 21.

“Access to technology is a basic human right and public libraries play an essential role making this possible for our most vulnerable residents,” said Library District Executive Director Kelvin Watson. “Our new Cell Phone Lending Program is a pilot initiative that is putting internet connectivity into the hands of 380 local adults and teens who are low-income or experiencing homelessness. These devices are a lifeline, reconnecting them with family, social resources, educational and employment assistance, and so much more. This program is yet another example of how the library uses technology to empower and uplift people’s lives.”

Officials say that Premier Wireless pre-configured the smart phones for unlimited calls and 5G hotspots in the U.S., and programmed them with library apps for education and workforce services, contact information for employment and social service agencies, and job skills training, according to the release.

Libraries in the Las Vegas Valley have secured a grant to lend smart phones to low-income residents or people experiencing homelessness. (Courtesy Las Vegas-Clark County Library District)(Hand-out | Las Vegas-Clark County Library District)

“Many people may not realize the barriers that individuals experience when they don’t have access to a phone or Wi-Fi,” said Catrina Grigsby-Thedford, executive director of the NHA. “In this post-pandemic era, services are accessed via the Internet or platforms such as Zoom. The Library District’s new Cell Phone Lending Program will fill some of those gaps. We are proud to collaborate with the Library District on this barrier-busting partnership.”

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