Library introduces mobile Wi-Fi hotspots for checkout

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Your local library just went hi-tech with a capital “H.”

Teton County Library now offers cardholders access to the internet with 10 new Wi-Fi hotspots equipped with 4G LTE and 3G data networks. The portable hotspots allow patrons to easily get online using any Wi-Fi-enabled device such as a phone, tablet, e-reader or laptop. Hotspots may be checked out at both the Jackson and Alta branches.

“Our patrons used 218,404 hours of free Wi-Fi at the library last year,” says Madeleine Sturmer, library IT manager. “But we knew that once we closed for the day, many patrons who need the internet to do their work had no after-hours access to the internet. The hotspot pilot program will help fill the digital divide in our community, providing equal access to households that can’t afford internet service.”

As an example, hotspots allow students access to online homework and resources, or allow job hunters to access want ads and to upload resumes. The hotspots’ mobility also offers an alternative for those who reside in “Wi-Fi shadows” where connection is spotty or nonexistent.

The hotspots are about the size of a deck of cards and come with a case, power cord and brief instructions. They may be checked out for seven days at a time. Overdue hotspots will have internet access deactivated within 24 hours beyond their due date. Patrons can place holds on them as with other library materials. They can be used anywhere in the US.

An added bonus: hotspots allow library cardholders to access the library’s free digital content like movies, music, books and audio books, and online classes. Anyone in need of help using these services can drop by App Time to learn how to use the devices.

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