Stewart Bell Jr. Archives
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Handley Regional Library System announces today the improvement of their mobile hotspot checkout program by switching fully to T-Mobile with devices available at all 3 library locations. Borrowers now have unlimited data and better internet connection, especially in more remote areas in Frederick and Clarke Counties. Currently, 39 devices are available for up to 1 week to one household/cardholder at a time due to high demand. Patrons must be 18+ to physically checkout the device. The hotspot checkout program is of great need in the community, especially when not all households have access to the internet and during a time where students and families need internet access at home due to remote learning and work schedules from the COVID-19 pandemic. The library system is seeking additional funding sources in hopes of expanding the program for 50 more devices.
“When connecting to the internet is a challenge, communities experience a divide when it comes to equal access to digital content,” says John Huddy, Director of Handley Regional Library System. “Our goal is to help bridge that gap as we continue to build out our hotspot checkout program. It’s been a great success for patrons who need materials in our Digital Library and general internet usage at home or on the go. Switching to T-Mobile has allowed us to not only enhance internet coverage in our entire service area - and save money - but allows for patrons to have unlimited data whether you are streaming content or connecting multiple devices.”
The library system reports that they need to add more hotspot devices, especially for students and families who need remote access at home due to school and work.
“It would take an additional $13,000 for 50 devices for a year of data through the discounted program for libraries with T-Mobile. We need more funding to make this program long-term to the help the community. If we qualify, CARES funding would only cover about half of that for the rest of 2020 unless it becomes extended. We’re open to private donations and sponsorships to meet the need.”
To borrow the devices, patrons can ask for them at the Circulation Desk and check availability in the online catalog at catalog.handleyregional.org. Online reservations are not available on these due to popularity. More details and guidelines are at www.handleyregional.org.