At Essex Public Library, checking out a Wi-Fi hotspot may soon become as routine as checking out a book. The library is now lending Wi-Fi hotspots to help address the needs of Essex’s residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hotspots allow users to connect a laptop, smartphone, or tablet to the internet. The portable devices will work almost anywhere.
Library Director Dana Smook says the program, made possible by funding from the C.A.R.E.S. Act Coronavirus Relief Fund, is designed to help get residents connected to the internet to perform essential tasks, even when they are staying home.
“Our new normal includes a lot of distance learning, remote working, and online tasks,” says Smook. “The pandemic has been especially hard on those who can’t access the internet from home. This hotspot lending program will help people get connected so they can perform essential tasks online.”
During the last year, Essex Public Library has launched new programs to serve the community while taking precautions against COVID-19. The hotspot program addresses the needs of those who struggle with a reliable internet connection at home. Internet access is a major challenge for many Essex residents, especially for those in the most rural areas.
“It’s clearer than ever that we need a sustainable plan for digital inclusion across our county,” says Smook. “But until then, hotspots can help connect some homes to the internet.”
The Wi-Fi service provided by the devices relies on cell tower technology and coverage. You can use the hotspot to connect to the internet wherever there is Verizon cell phone service.
Library patrons may borrow a hotspot device for seven days. Anyone over age 18, with an Essex Public Library card in good standing, can borrow one. The devices can be borrowed through curbside service. To learn more about the hotspot lending program, visit the Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot Guidelines and FAQ or call the library at (804) 443-4945.