Addressing the K - 12 Homework Gap through Broadband Adoption

K-12 students who are assigned homework requiring access to the internet, but don’t have home internet access fall into what’s called the “homework gap.” The homework gap limits educational opportunities outside the classroom.


The State Library and the Broadband Infrastructure Office of the North Carolina Department of Information Technology are partnering with North Carolina library systems to develop and implement a holistic, replicable, and scalable model to equip North Carolina’s public libraries to address the K-12 homework gap in their communities. Leveraging statewide and local partnerships, this project equips libraries to simultaneously address the four primary challenges contributing to the homework gap — broadband access, affordable broadband service, access to a digital device at a student’s home, and digital literacy training. The model will demonstrate how public libraries can help close the homework gap and increase broadband adoption. 


In pilot communities, participating K-12 families will be identified through the local school system as not having internet service in their homes. These families will be loaned a WiFi hotspot to be used for homework during the school year. The student and their parent or guardian will attend digital literacy training sessions offered by the local library with curriculum and assistance from the project partners. As a requirement for selection, only library systems in which the school districts have a one-to-one program, or a program where schools allot laptops or tablets to each student to complete school and homework, will be considered. The first community participating in the project is Robeson County through a partnership between Robeson County Public Library and Fairgrove Middle School. Additional communities will be added in Fall 2019.


This project is made possible by funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (IMLS grant number LG-70-18-0116-18).