Abilene Public Library Now Has Wi-Fi Hotspots
May 5—To better serve the needs of the area, the Abilene Public Library purchased Wi-Fi hotspots with a federal grant. The hotspots are intended for use by students when they don’t have access to WiFi, but any adult can borrow the hotspots for up to two weeks.
“It’s a good opportunity to try it out, to see what the demand is for this community,” said Jordyn Peyla, director of teens and technology for the library. “A lot of our regular customers here who use the computers don’t have internet at home for various reasons, so this opens up the possibility for them to take the internet home and try to see if they’d like to continue using it. install at home or take it with them.”
The library saw the need during the COVID-19 pandemic, library manager Wendy Moulton and Peyla said, when students returned from school. With some homes without Wi-Fi, the library has decided to purchase access points for those who temporarily need Wi-Fi at home or while traveling.
In October 2021, the library applied to the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Connectivity Fund to purchase the access points. Peyla said the library requested $800 from the reimbursement fund, and it would cover the cost of the devices and a month’s data plan for each device.
“It’s a nationwide effort to make sure schools and public libraries can provide the technology to their surroundings,” Peyla said.
Peyla said some libraries have requested larger sums from the fund and have built a collection of more than 100 access points. Since they start by testing if there is a need, the Abilene Library only purchased five.
Mobile Beacon is the library’s hotspot provider. The donation program is hosted by TechSoup and aims to provide nonprofit organizations across the United States with 4G LTE broadband hotspots, according to TechSoup’s website. The plan costs $10 per month for each device, which equals $50 per month.
So far, since the library began lending the devices two weeks ago, the hotspots have been used by students and people who need to apply for work-from-home jobs, Moulton and Peila.
All customers with good credibility over the age of 18 can borrow the hotspots for a two-week loan period. Parents can also borrow the hotspots for their children, Moulton said. To discover a hotspot, talk to Peyla on the top floor.
“We always try to see what the needs of the community are,” Moulton said. “If anyone has any suggestions, we’re always happy to hear what people are looking for.”