Bloomer (WQOW) - Those who can't log in to the world wide web at home are spending more time at their local library.
A new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum found that library visits in rural areas went up 40 percent from 2000 to 2018.
Free internet access is the main commodity.
Applying for jobs, filling out government forms and checking emails are just a few of the things people may not be able to access otherwise.
The director of the G.E. Bleskacek Family Memorial Library in Bloomer said on average, 400 people access the internet each month. She called it a crucial resource.
"I mean the internet is a basic need now, I would say; it's not just a privilege," Megan Taylor said. "I mean you have to do so many things on the internet. It's providing access, it's providing opportunities for people. There's just so much that you have to do on the internet. So for people that can't use it, it's a real disadvantage."
Library internet access isn't just important in rural areas. The same report found respondents that were black, Hispanic or low-income were also more likely to use the computer at a library.