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Free laptop access to help with Atlanta library closure starts Monday

A week after Fulton County’s Central Library in Atlanta closed for up to two years for renovations, the library system will start a free three-day-a-week laptop program so people in the area can still have access to technology.

The Library on the Lawn, at Woodruff Park, will give users access to computers Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free wifi is also available.

The program starts Monday, though the computers won’t be available during inclement weather.

The initiative is part of an effort to help fill the void the library will leave for homeless residents, in particular, who often depend on the library system for access to technology, as well as shelter. Thousands of people each month went to Central Library for computer access, including 4,000 in March.

Atlanta had 3,600 homeless people in 2017, including 1,200 downtown, said George Chidi, the social impact director for Central Atlanta Progress. Many who use the library are not chronically homeless, he said, and access technology so they can apply for jobs helps them get back on their feet.

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Woodruff Park is two blocks from the library, and while the initiative won’t be able to completely fill the need for Internet access, organizers hope it will make a dent, particularly for underserved or underemployed people who often make use of the library’s Internet access and computers.

The closure is one of many planned for the county’s public library system, as Fulton County renovates its branches over the coming years.

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