In an initiative announced on Thursday (Apr. 30) by President Barack Obama in a Washington, D.C. library, located in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, $250 million dollars will be allocated to provide low-income children free e-books. The plan includes commitment from the five major publishing houses, including Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and HarperCollins. Although this is a step in the right direction, many are questioning how will students in poverty-stricken areas read these books without access to computers or tablets at home?
To help bridge the gap, the plan will rely heavily on public libraries, as the White House is pushing for leaders in 30 communities to supply library cards to children. The New York Public Library is also developing an app to connect low-income kids with the free books.
“If we’re serious about living up to what our country is about, then we have to consider what we can do to provide opportunities in every community, not just when they’re on the front page, but every day,” said Jeff Zients, Obama’s top economic adviser in a briefing with reporters.
Zients also noted the White House’s previous announced programs to upgrade Internet services for low-income schools and libraries, with assistance from big brand companies like Apple, which pledged $100 million in devices to low-income schools.