Melbourne librarian Coralie Kouvelas’ plan to help people who can’t afford wifi

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Coralie Kouvelas is the Thomastown library branch manager and according to The Guardian, a trip to the car park during Melbourne’s sixth lockdown planted the seed for a project to help people who can’t afford wifi.

Kouvelas noticed it was always the same vehicles in the library car park and after approaching them to say hello, she found out the children were there to do their homework – using the library’s wireless internet.

“They mentioned they did not have wifi at home. One family had four kids from the ages of 19 right down to eight or nine. They were a migrant family and they were quite fearful, but more than anything they were incredibly embarrassed that they were sitting in the car park,” Kouvelas told the news outlet.

The pilot program is now currently operating out of Lalor and Thomastown libraries.

In response, Yarra Plenty Regional Libraries allocated $50,000 for a pilot program to give wifi dongles with 60GB per month of data to 100 families for a year. The library partnered with a not-for-profit support service, Whittlesea Community Connections, to help identify families in need, and Vodafone, who supplied a suitable product.

The pilot program is now currently operating out of Lalor and Thomastown libraries and Kouvelas said many of the households accessing the program are migrant families without strong English skills, or people living in insecure housing.

“We’ve had some schools who have taken the hotspot on board for people who are in domestic violence situations. It’s providing a simple service and it’s vital,” she said.

Source: The Guardian.

READ MORE: Marrickville Library could soon be named the best in the world.

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