Obama pushes reading through eBook, library initiatives

30 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Library aims to give every student a card.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Linking reading to technology, the White House marshaled major book publishers to provide more than $250 million in free e-books to low-income students and is seeking commitments from local governments and schools across the country to ensure that every student has a library card. President Barack Obama was to announce the two initiatives Thursday at a Washington library as part of his two-year-old ConnectED program that aims to improve education through digital connectivity.

Today’s announcement is a continuation of ConnectED, a June, 2013, initiative with a goal of providing 99 percent of students with access to high-speed broadband and wireless Internet by 2018. “You hear about early literacy everywhere,” she said. “That’s the push, to get a handle on education at a young age so they have the tools to be successful.” Ms. The offer of e-books comes as low-income households still lag far behind others in computer ownership, but White House officials said libraries and schools in poor communities are increasing access to the Internet.

Sewell said the local pledge is in its early stages, but it has garnered support from Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson and Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Romules Durant. The Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Urban Libraries Council, and the American Library Association have pledged to help libraries fulfill their goals. Several publishing companies, including the so-called “Big 5” of Hachette, Harper-Collins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster, have committed to donating a combined 10,000 of their most popular titles in the form of ebooks to schools and libraries over a three-year period. The books will be available on a variety of devices, including desktop computers, smart phones, and tablets, and can be accessed at libraries, schools, and homes. In a call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, Cecilia Munoz, director of the Domestic Policy Council, and Jeff Zients, National Economic Council director, emphasized the role of libraries as “pillars” for building literacy in low-income communities.

The announcement comes just two days after Obama called on Americans to do “some soul searching” in the wake of recurrent black deaths at the hands of police and riots that have shaken minority communities, most recently in Baltimore. “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,” Zients said. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor’s agreement, click the “X” in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse.

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