The City of Johannesburg has embarked on a programme to roll out free internet and Wi-Fi access in public libraries in what the city described as a giant leap to bridge digital divide.
The programme called e-World was launched by executive Mayor Parks Tau on Friday, 27 March 2015. The launch coincided with National Library Week, which this year was run under the theme “Connect @ your Library.”
Tau said “Internationally, we are in a digital race. However, as a City and a country we are not running nearly fast enough. Through this programme we are lacing up our digital running shoes and providing free technology and internet access for all, essentially providing a mechanism to accelerate local social and economic growth.”
With the support of the Library and Information Technology Services, the City’s Library and Information Services will roll out the e-World programme over the next 18 months that will see the enabling of free internet and Wi-Fi access in public libraries.
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Corporate and Shared Services Mally Mokoena said the City had made a solid commitment to bridging the digital divide by focusing on e-learning as reflected in the City’s Smart Citizen Priority.
“Though the target audience is all citizens of the city, attention has been placed on the youth and school-going children. By accessing e-learning technology, learners are able to remove a bulk of the material costs, enjoy flexible learning times and locations as well as enjoy enhanced content such as audio and video,” said Mokoena.
At present, e-World accessibility is available at the Jabavu, Noordgesig, Orange Farm, River Park, Diepsloot and Sandton libraries, with another 38 libraries to be added by June 30.