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Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Distributing 20K Free Laptops

The North Carolina library system began handing out refurbished laptops to eligible adults in Mecklenburg County this week as part of the MeckTech program. The initiative is focused on boosting computer and Internet access.

(TNS) — The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is distributing 20,000 free, refurbished laptops to eligible adults in Mecklenburg County starting this week.

The effort is part of the library system’s MeckTech program, which works to decrease the number of households in Charlotte without computers and access to online resources.

Each laptop includes “preloaded productivity and education applications,” and hardware needed for setup, according to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Internet service is not included, but all computers will be able to connect to WiFi.

To qualify for a free computer, applicants must:
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a Mecklenburg County resident
  • Have an active email address
  • Have a photo ID with an identification number
  • Provide proof of a Mecklenburg County address
  • Sign a statement saying they would not otherwise have the technology necessary to meet their educational and informational needs

Applications will be available on the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library website starting on Thursday.

Approved applicants will receive a confirmation email 7-10 business days after submission, according to the library system. Ineligible or unapproved applications will not receive a reply.

Those who are approved will sign up for a distribution date and time through their confirmation emails. Laptops will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We hope to serve as many members of our community as possible, but we have limited supply and unfortunately cannot guarantee that we will be able to fulfill all needs,” the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library said in a statement.

The Center for Digital Equity (CDE), an organization that works to provide computers and Internet connection to Charlotte residents in need, will be on-site during computer distributions to talk about its Affordable Connectivity Program. The federal initiative aims to help low-income households pay for broadband service and Internet-connected devices.

Mecklenburg County residents who are ineligible for a free laptop can call 311 to speak to a Digital Navigator from the CDE to help identify alternative options for affordable technology.

©2023 The Charlotte Observer, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.