Fact Sheet: St. Louis County Library Digital Equity Initiative with GrandPad
Who: St. Louis County Library and GrandPad
What: St. Louis County Library distributed 1,500 GrandPad tablets to underserved, older adults in St. Louis County, MO in late March and early April as part of their Digital Equity Initiative. Recipients of the GrandPads will have the purpose-built tablet to use, free of charge, for one year. St. Louis County Library purchased the GrandPad tablets with federal CARES Act funds in an effort to expand the Digital Equity Initiative established by St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page in 2020. The library received more than 2,000applications from St. Louis County residents who wanted to participate in the program.
Why: The combined impact of social isolation and limited access to technology has been particularly devastating to older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. Homebound individuals or those living in senior care facilities, have not had the same access to online resources like Zoom, email or video calling to stay in touch and most do not have Internet access to help them stay up to date on the latest COVID vaccine information.
What is GrandPad? GrandPad is a purpose-built tablet that was designed for use by individuals with little or no technology experience. A built-in data connection is included free with every GrandPad, giving users secure access to the Internet. There is no home Internet connection required, no data contracts required, and no additional fees involved. Users are automatically set up with an email account that is ready to use on the device. GrandPad features large, colorful icons for easy navigation. Powerful, front facing speakers help improve communication for the hearing impaired. The GrandPad tablet comes with a hands-free charging cradle, eliminating the need for hard-to-connect charging cords. Easy-to-use video calling and voice, email and text gives seniors multiple options for connecting with caregivers and families. A dedicated GrandPad support person is accessible 24/7/365 by simply touching the “Help” button on the GrandPad home screen. GrandPad provides access to a wide variety of activities that provide mental stimulation and entertainment, such as music, games, streaming radio, articles, and weather. Users will also be able to easily access Library resources. A direct link to the St. Louis County COVID Information website including vaccination sign up will also be included on the GrandPad.
"We are so grateful to partner with St. Louis County on the expansion of the Digital Equity Initiative. The pandemic has increased barriers for much of our community and particularly for older adults who may not have access to technology that could connect them to family, friends and information. Social isolation for seniors is a serious public health concern. Providing GrandPad tablets that were designed by and for older adults will give individuals the ability to connect in so many meaningful ways." Kristen Sorth, Director and CEO, St. Louis County Library
“This is an exciting partnership, one that allows us to expand on our Digital Equity Initiative. Our commitment from the beginning of this pandemic has been to get resources to those who need them the most.” Dr. Sam Page, County Executive Director
“Despite the wired world in which we live today, elderly seniors are increasingly isolated and disconnected because they are unable to use devices that simply were not designed for them. We’ve created a tablet that eliminates all the common points of frustration for seniors, making it easy and safe for them to reconnect to family, friends, and caregivers and to stay in touch with their community and the world. We are immensely proud to partner with the St. Louis County Library on this innovative and essential initiative to increase access to technology for seniors in St. Louis County." Scott Lien, Co-founder and CEO, GrandPad