Redwood City Public Library Works to Bridge the Digital Divide

The Redwood City Public Library is working to bridge the digital divide in the community by offering a number of programs and services that help community members connect to the internet and learn how to use a computer.

Checkout iPads at the Fair Oaks Library

The Fair Oaks Branch offers iPads to checkout for home use. The iPads have pre-loaded educational apps recommended by the Redwood City School District for students in pre-kindergarten through second grade. Community members can use their free Peninsula Library System library card to checkout the iPads at no charge. The iPads are fully functional and no internet access is required.

Wi-Fi Hotspot Checkout

To help connect our community to Wi-Fi and the internet, anyone with a Redwood City library card can check out a personal Wi-Fi device, called a hotspot, from the Downtown Library or Fair Oaks Branch Library. One hotspot per family connects up to 15 devices and can be checked out with a Peninsula Library System card. The Wi-Fi hotspots checkout for three weeks at a time. Eighty devices are offered between these two library branches.

Access to Computers and the Internet

All branches feature computers that offer access to the internet, online databases and library resources, the library catalog, and Microsoft Office. All Redwood City libraries also offer free wireless internet access for people who prefer to use their own devices.

School-age children can also use their library cards to check out educational laptops and Chromebooks that are protected to prevent misuse. Devices are checked out for a three-week period, which can be extended.

Library Programs and Classes Offered

Drop-In Computer Help

Need help with eBooks or have technology questions? Bring your device and drop by the Small Meeting Room at the Downtown Library, where instructors are on hand to assist with technology questions, Wednesdays 10:00 a.m. — 12:00 p.m. A reservation is not required. Additionally, appointments can be made with technology volunteers for further assistance.

Coding Club for Kids

For children interested in coding, the Downtown Library offers a Sunday Coding club for Kids from 2–3 p.m. These workshops are free and all materials are provided. Learn how to code, make your own video games, and more. All ages welcome; this class is designed for beginners. Ten students are admitted on a first come, first served basis.

Virtual Reality in the Teen Center

The Teen Center at the Downtown Library has an Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) system that completely immerses you in virtual worlds. This system is thanks to a grant from the California State Library, as part of their Virtual Reality Experience Project. The VR programming at the Downtown Library is for teens, ages 13 and up. The library has a variety of educational content, as well as super fun immersive games for teens to play. Teens can sign up for a 20-minute block of time (20 minutes is the maximum amount of time, as recommended by Oculus Rift) in which they can play different games and use applications in the collection. Teens can explore different parts of the world with Google Earth, hang out with a pride of lions in the Savannah on the African continent, paint a masterpiece in all three dimensions, or rid the streets from rogue killer robots!

The Teen Center is also on the list to receive an HTC VIVE headset, another VR system. HTC has their own library of games and applications to use exclusively with their technology.

Interested in using the VR equipment? Here are the upcoming VR events!

All events take place in the Teen Center of the Downtown Library

Thursday, November 9, 4–7 p.m.

Thursday, December 14, 4–7 p.m.

Stay tuned for January and February event dates!

Technology Coach Volunteer Program-Volunteers Needed!

The Library’s personal technology coach volunteer program is looking for interested volunteers! Help others learn new technology skills. Provide in-depth, one-one one assistance for individuals learning about basic computer use, internet, ebooks and other technology. We are also seeking those with advanced technology and media skills that want to provide workshops for teens in the Teen Digital Lab. To learn more about this volunteer opportunity, go here.

Other Services

To learn more about Redwood City Public Library’s Technology Services, go here.

To learn more about the Redwood City Public Library, go here.