Portable “Wi-Fi Hotspots” are available for two-week loans from Eau Claire’s L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library.
The new program aims to help overcome economic factors that contribute to the “digital divide” gap in technology access. The hotspots enable users to have Internet access at home or on the go, and are compatible with most laptops, smartphones and tablets, according to a press release from the Library.
Library cardholders who are at least 18 may borrow a Hotspot by placing a hold either through the MORE catalog (available via the Library website www.ecpubliclibrary.info) or by contacting the Information & Reference desk at 715-839-5004. Instructions for use are provided with the device.
According to a report published by whitehouse.gov, “even though over 98% of Americans have access to Internet service, one in four doesn’t have it at home.” The likelihood that a person lacks home access is higher for older, less-educated and minority individuals, according to the report.
Isa Small, the Library’s programming and communications services manager, noted that most employers “request application materials to be submitted electronically, which puts those without Internet access at a great disadvantage.
“While we provide Internet access here at the Library, some folks find it easier to complete the applications at home, and others may need access when the library is closed,” she added.
The Hotspots will also enable borrowers to stream videos, catch up on social media, and explore the Library’s digital resources. Those include OverDrive and Freading e-books, Freegal music, and Lynda.com, which offers easy-to-use video tutorials to help learn business, technical and creative skills, according to the press release.