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Saturday, November 29, 2003

"If You're So Poor, How Come You're Online?" 

Offer your feedback and comments at Rogi's Kitchen Table.

Here are the Rio Grande Public Library Rules and Regulations for Computer Use.

One can only access a library computer for three hours per day, based on availability. If all computers are occupied, one must sign up to a waiting list.

One may not attach any hardware to a public library computer. This includes scanners and printers. Therefore, one is required to pay $0.15 per print out page of internet web sites.

A bus transfer in Albuquerque, NM costs $1.00 and is only good for two hours.

To use the library computers every week day for three hours, here's what I'd pay per month.

$40.00 bus fare

If I print out only ten pages per week, I'd pay an additional $6.00 for printing.

I could hand-copy everything, but that would use up my computer time, writing everything down.

If I require child care at, say $5.00 per hour, that would be an additional fifteen dollars per day.

In addition, there's the travel time, to and from the library. Only ONE library, the main branch, downtown, is directly in front of a bus stop. Most others are a three-block, minimum, walk from the nearest bus stop. Temperatures in Albuquerque range from over 100 degrees farenheit on summer days to well below freezing on winter nights. This makes the trip quite stressful for some of us who are disabled.

In addition to all this, factor in the fact that MOST poor people have JOBS. Many of us also have family members for which we care, such as children and elderly or disabled relatives.

Factor in the travel time to and from work, because the jobs are rarely in the low-income housing areas of town, and that eats up at least an hour or two per day. Many busses in Albuquerque only run every twenty, forty or sixty minutes.

So, in order for a working mother to access the "free" library computers five days a week her day would run a minimum of fourteen hours. And that doesn't include taking care of children, cleaning, cooking, running other errands, etc.

And it would cost her a minimum of forty dollars' bus fare per month.

She couldn't: cook, supervise her kids, sit in a bed to rest her aching feet, keep an eye on grandma, run a load of laundry, help with homework or lounge around in her underwear after a hard day's work on a public computer, either!

posted by Rogi  # 11/29/2003 12:59:00 AM
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