For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


PHILADELPHIA, October 4, 2012—On Thursday, October 4, the Free Library of Philadelphia celebrated the grand opening of its Hot Spot at Universal Audenried Charter High School, 3301 Tasker Street, in Philadelphia’s Gray’s Ferry neighborhood. The Hot Spot is made possible by the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, and it will provide neighborhood residents with free access to computers, high-speed internet, Free Library materials and databases, and skilled computer assistants ready to provide one-on-one assistance and group training. More than 100 people have found jobs as a direct result of the assistance they received at a Hot Spot since their inception in March 2011.

The Universal Audenried Charter High School is made possible with support from Universal Companies, a Philadelphia-based non-profit organization dedicated to creating educational, cultural, and entrepreneurial opportunities that will stimulate the development of wealth within historically disenfranchised communities. The Free Library Hot Spot at Audenreid supports and underscores the Library’s commitment to increasing Philadelphians’ technological literacy and bridging the city’s digital divide. In Philadelphia, more than 40 percent of residents do not have home internet access; this Free Library Hot Spot—in collaboration with Universal Companies—will provide an essential and exciting service.

“I am so pleased that the Free Library is partnering with Universal Companies to bring these essential services to the Gray’s Ferry community,” said Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director of the Free Library of Philadelphia. “A major part of reviving the economic vitality of Philadelphia involves giving residents access to the tools that will allow them to become fully contributing members of the 21st century workforce. In addition to the 54 Free Library locations with more than 1,000 free public access computers, our Hot Spot at Universal Audenried Charter High School will ensure that residents of Gray’s Ferry are given the opportunity to increase their technological literacy, access Free Library reference materials and resources, and improve their lives as a result.”

The Free Library Hot Spot at Universal Audenried Charter High School features computers, printers, and all necessary broadband equipment, as well as a small selection of Free Library materials. The Hot Spot is open Monday through Friday from 1:30 to 6:00 p.m. and is staffed by a skilled assistant who will provide visitors with guided computer instruction. In addition, the Hot Spot will offer special group training hours by appointment on Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The Free Library has four additional Hot Spots, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Verizon, and Broadband USA throughout the city, as well as a Techmobile. These Hot Spots are located at Heavenly Hall Annex, 4015 Poplar Street; Institute for the Development of African-American Youth, 2221 North Broad Street; The Village of Arts and Humanities, 2544 Germantown Avenue; and Mercy Neighborhood Ministries, 1939 West Venango Street. In addition, the Free Library’s Techmobile “Hot Spot on wheels” regularly travels to community centers throughout the city, bringing computer resources and assistance directly to those who need it most.

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About the Free Library’s Commitment to Digital Literacy
The Free Library of Philadelphia aims to provide literacy, learning, and economic recovery for the City of Philadelphia though its unparalleled access and training in the digital space. With more than 30,000 e-books; 1,000 public access computers; 600 author event podcasts; 150 online databases; daily homework and computer literacy classes online; Hot Spot community computer training centers; and the roving Techmobile computer lab, the Free Library’s digital services have never been greater.

About the Free Library of Philadelphia
The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than 6 million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850