Bridging the Digital Divide
Press Release from the Mendocino County Library website:
The Mendocino County Library (MCL) has implemented a new program offering Wi-Fi hotspots for check-out to help bridge the digital divide and give Mendocino County residents access to the internet where they need it.
The 45 hotspots were obtained through funding from The Emergency Connectivity Fund Program administered by USAC (Universal Service Administrative Co.) with oversight from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The purpose of this program is to address the high rate of unmet need for Broadband services throughout the Country. Each of the five MCL branches and the Bookmobile have devices that are available to be loaned out for a 28-day checkout period on a first-come, first-served, walk-in basis. Each Wi-Fi hotspot kit contains a hotspot device, charging adaptor, and instructions. MCL staff are also available to help with troubleshooting and to answer any questions.
While many people take internet access for granted according to the Pew Research Center, home broadband access has reached a plateau. “On one hand, Americans…are increasingly likely to view home broadband as a key tool for accessing information that is important to their lives. But at the same time, the monthly cost of broadband service is now cited…as the most important reason for not having a home broadband subscription.” For more details from this study, see https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2015/12/21/home-broadband-2015/.
Hotspots are the latest in a growing list of non-traditional items that library users can borrow from public libraries. MCL also lends out DIY Energy and Water Saving Toolkits, Early Education Literacy Kits, and at some locations, Playaway Launchpads and Ukuleles.
For more information, please visit www.mendolibrary.org, call your local MCL branch, or contact the Mendocino County Cultural Services Agency at 234-2873.