The Will Rogers Library now offers Internet to go! Starting this week, library patrons ages 13 and up can check out a mobile hotspot, a small, portable device that provides free wireless internet access to library patrons and families who don’t have a mobile phone. a reliable Internet connection at home.
A portable Wi-Fi hotspot is a handheld device that allows you to connect your personal device(s) to the Internet. Laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. are examples of devices you can use to access free Wi-Fi with a HotSpot. A Will Rogers Library Access Point can support up to 15 devices for basic web browsing, or up to two or three devices for streaming. They will operate at 4G/LTE speeds, just like cell phone internet speeds.
“Our goal is to help our community bridge the digital divide with portable internet connectivity that our patrons can borrow from the library for free,” said library manager Sherry Beach. “Many aspects of our lives today depend on internet access, which has become even more important during the pandemic. For example, while schools have provided students with devices, some may not have an internet connection at home. Or if you don’t have internet access but need to do a job interview on Zoom, you can check out a hotspot and do that interview on your own schedule in your own location.
According to a recent study by Microsoft, only 13% of households in Rogers County have reliable broadband access, largely due to lack of infrastructure, but also due to the high cost of retail plans.
“We see it as an important extension of library services, where connectivity is key to accessing information,” Beach said. “While the library offers on-site computers and Wi-Fi, mobile hotspots will allow patrons to access the internet whenever and wherever they are, even outside of library opening hours. , without having to sit in their car in the parking lot.”
There are 20 HotSpots currently available for payment. Library patrons must be 13 years of age or older and have a Will Rogers Library account in good standing to view a hotspot. They will need to show photo ID and sign a loan agreement. Customers under 18 must also have a parent/guardian with a library account in good standing, who will also need to sign the Loan Agreement on file to view a HotSpot. One HotSpot can be borrowed per household.
Hotspots can be viewed for two weeks and Internet service will be available during this time. HotSpots cannot be renewed; however, a customer may consult another access point if one is available upon their return. Hotspots cannot be verified for Provisional, Awareness, or e-Card holders at this time.
The new Will Rogers Library HotSpot lending program is funded by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries with a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act.
“We are very pleased to be able to provide this important service to library patrons,” Beach said. “We anticipate a lot of demand!”
For more details on the Will Rogers Library HotSpot Lending Program, visit the library’s webpage at www.willrogerslibrary.org, or ask at the loan counter on your next visit to the library.