President Obama began his original initiative of ConnectED back in 2013, but recently confirmed the launch of a new national program that would enable low-income children access to $250 million worth of free eBooks.
With assistance from New York Public Library as well as publishers such as Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hachette and HarperCollins, the program will provide access to eBooks and promote literary nationwide to those who need it most. Many of these books will also implement new cover art and typography specifically for this project, connecting children both to literary and to the wealth of information available on the internet.
The New York Public Library will allow access to the multitude of classic literary texts that are currently available in the public domain. The library plans to partner with nonprofit First Book to guarantee that the books will reach low-income children.
Other public libraries are also jumping into the mix, with 30 communities promising to place library cards into the hands of young readers.
“The New York Public Library is proud to participate in this important program, which will have tremendous social benefits in terms of literacy, and will mark a groundbreaking shift in how publishers provide e-books to the public,” said NYPL president Tony Marx in a statement. “The program is certainly in line with the Library’s mission to make information—and by extension opportunity—available to all, and we look forward to working with the White House on this and other projects in the future. We also look forward to continuing our work with publishers, as we maneuver the relatively new, ever-changing world of e-content.”
The initiative is set to begin this fall.