NYC Libraries Offer Internet Lending Program

The New York Public Library is launching the nation’s largest Internet lending program, handing out 10,000 free high-speed hot spots to some of the city’s poorest residents.

The program which offers the devices for up to a year, about a $1,000 value, seeks to bridge a digital divide in the nation’s largest city, where studies have found nearly 3 million of the 8 million people lack broadband access.

The program is a partnership between tech companies and the city:

Google’s $1 million donation, along with a $500,000 grant from the Knight News Challenge, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and Robin Hood Foundation, will allow the program to expand this fall to all three library systems, including Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library. The goal is to offer about 10,000 families Wi-Fi devices powered by Sprint, helping to close the digital divide in New York City.

“Whether you’re a parent looking for a job, a child working on a school project, or a family looking for information on services, broadband access is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity.” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I commend both New York City Libraries and Google for their commitment to increasing accessibility to technology through the innovative Library Hotspot program, and I am thrilled to see thousands of New York City families get access to the internet.”

By Jen Hayden – Daily Kos –

Penn Station fire suspicious

150 firefighters have responded to an early morning fire near Penn Station which is affecting subway and rail service in the area.

Authorities say A, E and C trains are back to normal but are slowing down on approach to Penn Station.

Long Island Rail Road service is also impacted. Trains are being diverted to Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn or Hunterspoint Avenue in Queens. Some trains are cancelled at Jamaica Terminal in Queens.

NYC Transit is cross-honoring LIRR fares on the 2, 3, 7 and E lines. Commuters should anticipate delays on all westbound trains.

Fire officials say the 3-alarm fire appears to be suspicious. Flames broke out at 2:20 A.M. Tuesday in an underground construction site at 34th Street and Eighth Avenue. They say it was nearly under control around 5 a.m.

A fire department spokesman says firefighters are still at the scene monitoring and extinguishing pockets of fire….

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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