By Ukee Washington

BURLINGTON COUNTY, N.J. (CBS) – During COVID, local libraries are a lifeline for people who need internet access. But libraries can’t accommodate everyone. So one library system is hoping the public can help them get technology into homes.

Marc Goldstein’s hobby has never been more valuable. The Cherry Hill man rescues old computers, updates parts and software, and gives them away to students through his non-profit, Computer Smiles. We talked to him in 2019.

Brotherly love computer smiles

“Bingo, they were able to log in, do their schoolwork from home and almost immediately the teacher told me that the grades went up,” Goldstein said.

That was before COVID pushed so many people online. Library systems found it tough to keep up with the demand for computer access, says Ranjna Das, director of the Burlington County Library System.

Some families had no computer at home, or they needed multiple computers for work and school.

“There was a large chunk of users that we just weren’t able to reach, and these were the ones who were coming in the library to use public computers, to use internet access,” Das said.

So when the library heard about Computer Smiles, it saw an opportunity, said Pat Lindsay-Harvey, president of the Burlington County Library System Foundation.

“We thought, what better way to help the library than to help people in the community by providing this tech to them?” Lindsay-Harvey said.

On Saturday, the Burlington County Main Library Branch will accept donations of working laptops, tablets, and PCs.  Marc will be one of the people helping refurbish them for their new life, as will the South Jersey Apple Users Group.

“I’m hoping we can help as many families as we can,” Lindsay-Harvey said. “You have no idea who you might help, whose life you might change.

You can drop off old working computer equipment Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Burlington County Library’s main branch, located at 5 Pioneer Boulevard off Woodlane Road in Westampton.

Click here, to find information about what equipment they are looking for.


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Ukee Washington