PLAINVILLE – Plainville Public Library is working to bridge the digital divide by offering mobile hot spot kits to help residents gain internet access.
Trish Tomlinson, library director, said that the library has acquired 10 mobile hot spot kits which they loan on a first-come, first-served basis for up to two weeks.
“It gives people in the community who don’t have regular access to the internet the ability to access it from anywhere,” she said. “The device is about the size of a credit card and a half-inch thick. It comes with a charging port and you can carry it in your pocket. You can bring it with you to the beach, to the park or anywhere you want to go. It will allow you to log into a WiFi network that pops up and allows you to use your device anywhere you want with unlimited data.”
Tomlinson said that the mobile hot spot program has been “wildly successful,” with residents checking them out consistently since they first became available in July.
“The urgency behind starting this program came about with what we were seeing during the pandemic,” said Tomlinson. “There are some people in our community who can’t afford an internet connection at home. There were a fair amount of people who would sit in our parking lot to use our WiFi signal. They included kids doing their school work remotely, people looking up unemployment locations and people using Telehealth to access their healthcare online. It was clear that having an internet connection was something that needed to be more readily available.”
Tomlinson said that being able to provide these mobile hot spots is just the “first tiny, baby step” in the library’s efforts to address this issue.
Other technology updates that will be coming in the next few months, Tomlinson said, will include a self-checkout kiosk. The library also plans to launch a mobile app.
“It will mimic our library website but with a more user-friendly design,” said Tomlinson. “People will be able to use it to browse titles, access online services and databases, place holds on books and see due dates.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.