The state is distributing $2.6 million of Connecticut’s Coronavirus Relief Funds across 65 libraries and the money is expected to be used largely to buy personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, signage and furniture amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Ned Lamont said the funds will be distributed based on the size to the libraries and the number of residents they serve each year, to allow much of the funding to particularly target those that serve low-income urban and rural communities.
The governor’s office said this is in addition to work to increase broadband infrastructure and create public Wi-Fi hotspots that offer free internet access, including at many libraries across the state.
“Libraries offer critical services for the public, including reliable Wi-Fi, access to computers and laptops, supportive learning materials and resources, and librarians who are trained in helping residents access key services,” Lamont said in a statement. “Most importantly, libraries provide safe and quiet spaces for people to work and study, which is critical to many people who do not have the environment to do this at home. Especially during this difficult time, libraries and the work of so many generous librarians have played a critical role in supporting K-12 and post-secondary students with remote learning.”
Libraries closed in March, when the COVID-19 pandemic started to affect the state. They opened with 50 percent capacity in June and will be able to increase the capacity to 75 percent when Phase 3 begins tomorrow.