Obama Administration App to Provide Free eBooks to Low-Income Kids

Finally–after a decade that brought us Snapchat, Kim Kardashian: Hollywood, and Floating Miley Cyrus–comes an app capable of doing unequivocal good: a free digital book collection for students from low-income families.

The app, produced by the Obama administration in conjunction with the New York Public Library, will feature $250 million worth of contemporary titles–all from publishing houses that have agreed to take part in the project. Candlewick Press CEO Karen Lotz told NPR, “We really, really care about getting books to all kids. Kids who can’t afford them. Kids who are in rural areas and not near bookstores.” The app will also feature books from the public domain, which students of all income levels will be able to access.

Of course, taking advantage of a free digital library requires an Internet subscription–something over half of low-income households lack. But the White House hopes to get Internet into every public school and library 2018, and the rollout plan for the app includes emphasizing its accessibility outside of the home. Said chief technology officer Megan Smith: “If families don’t have access to devices at home, the children can get to the library and [get in] that habit.”

While coordinating libraries and schools and the schedules of tens of thousands of kids is undoubtedly easier said than done, you can’t argue with the stated goal of the project: “encouraging kids to become lifelong readers.”

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