Jacksonville Public Library soon to offer mobile WiFi hot spots

By Benjamin Cox on February 20, 2018 at 6:49pm

Those without access to the internet may soon be in luck. The Jacksonville Public Library is in the process of finalizing the purchase of 10 mobile WiFi hot spots. People with a library card would be able to check out a device from the Jacksonville Public Library. That device would allow access to the internet from home.

These mobile devices are made possible by Tech Soup, a non profit organization. Library Director Chris Ashmore joined our WLDS “AM conversation” earlier this week to talk about this opportunity. He says the library filled out an application to the company to purchase the hot spots at a major discounted rate.

“Probably in the near future, I don’t have an exact date, we are going to have the ability for patrons to come in, that do not have internet access at home, and check out, meaning to borrow or take home like you would with a book, music or a movie,what is called an WiFi hot spot. It’s about the size of a modem, that you would plug in at home. If you have a computer, a laptop, an old phone, tablet whatever you can connect to it for internet access for the check out period. It’s kind of a new thing, a lot of libraries started doing it.” said Ashmore.

It maybe 2018 but there are still those without internet access. Ashmore says the need for these mobile hot spots are pretty great.

“A lot of people, especially people who have internet, assume that everybody may have the internet at home but recent statistics are 30% American households do not have internet which is quite a bit. That’s about a third of the population. If you ever doubt that, come into the library someday and you will see all of our public computers being used for filling out job applications or applying for service forms, anything you need to do, they send you straight to the internet and a lot of people don’t have that at home. But a lot of people have an old phone without a service plan or something like that, they just need to connect so yeah there is a real need. This way they won’t be limited to the library hours, if they have a library card in good standing they can check this device out.” said Ashmore.

The final details of the 10 devices are still being finalized. Ashmore says there maybe a date limit but isn’t sure of the speed restrictions.

“I know usually it has worked with other libraries is that there is a data limit but it’s pretty large and they will have people who check them out for two weeks and I know in Springfield, no one has reached that data limit and it would start to work slower. All of that will be worked out when we officially get accepted and we will work out the details.” Ashmore explains. 

Like any other item checked out of the library, you have to pay for the the mobile hot spots if it’s damaged. Be on the look out for the new devices at the Jacksonville Public Library.