Why city libraries are lending wifi hotspots to low-income residents

from PublicCEO

“Libraries have always played a critical community role in offering low-income residents access to information. Although most libraries offer free public internet access, computers are in high demand and often have time limits. Coupled with the fact that one in four households do not have internet access at home, this may explain why many library patrons often gather outside libraries to access public WiFi after normal operating hours. In response, libraries are developing innovative programs to help close the digital divide. Hotspot Lending Programs offer low-income patrons access to devices that provide wireless broadband internet access at home; these hotspot devices are pocket-sized, easy to use, and connect multiple devices … San Mateo County Library is taking things a step further by offering both WiFi hotspots and WiFi hotspot/laptop combos. This program provides wireless hotspots with unlimited data. WiFi hotspot/laptop combos include Microsoft Office 2013, and they can be checked out for up to seven days.